In her wonderful collection of poetry called, The Awful Rowing Toward God, Anne Sexton examines her life like someone in a canoe rowing against the stream of life, encountering hazards along the way, and finally docking at the island of God’s home.
The concluding poem in the book is called “The Rowing Endeth.” In it she sees herself called by God’s great laughter to join him for a game of poker. When the cards are dealt, she is surprised and thrilled.
She has a royal straight flush. She will trounce God and win for herself whatever prizes God has brought to the table. In great excitement she slaps down her cards, claiming her winnings. Nothing can beat this hand!
But God only laughs, a great, rolling, joyful exuberance that energizes everything around. In rich good humor, with no malice at all, God throws down his cards. Five aces! That’s impossible! But there it is.
And when Anne loses to God, she knows that really she wins. For God is not stingy with his wealth or his earnings. There are never any losers when they sit at table with God. God’s laughter is always without malice or one-upmanship.
This is the Gospel of Jesus’ Parable this past weekend (Matthew 20:1-16). In spite of our good fortunes or savvy playing skills or sheer hard work, we never really win at the game of life when we play it by our own rules. But if God is bending them in the direction of grace, something wonderful always happens.
Thanks to Wayne Brouwer for sharing this. Thanks to Raka Miftah for the picture.
When YOU “Play Poker with God”, who do YOU eventually learn wins?
GOD LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TO INDULGE IN YOUR EVERY WHIM!!
Please tell someone you know about Treatsforthesoul.org. Do invite them to subscribe. I record a podcast every day. Just hit the little white triangle above to listen to it.