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Candy Land
Photo: Erwin Purnomosidi
Oh, the memories. Rainbow squares. Peppermint forests. Chocolate swamps. And the King of Candy. It’s amazing how strong childhood memories can be. It’d been 30+ years since I’d played this famous kid’s game, but it all came rushing back as I took the plastic off a brand new box this week.

My three year old chose to be the little red piece, I took the green, and we began. He mostly understood the idea of moving to a square matching the color on the card he drew. He did not understand the idea of staying along a path. He pretty much went to the first red or green or purple that he saw.

At one point in the game, I landed on a bad square and was sent back to Peppermint Forest near the start of the game. On his next turn, Jake drew a yellow square. I watched as he searched for one and then he looked back at my lonely green guy and said, while moving his piece next to mine, “Momma, I’m just going to stay with you.”

Being with Me

I love that at his age, my son still prizes being with me over beating me. How different from the world he’ll grow up to know where getting ahead of the next guy is the only goal. Where being first, fastest, richest, smartest and most beautiful is of utmost importance. And you’re only really the best if there is some poor guy stuck back in Peppermint Forest. There isn’t a first without a last. I pray that he will continue to care for those who fall behind, to be more concerned for their welfare than for winning.

But there is another reason that his comment hit me square in the heart. As a kid I remember hearing a lot about God’s plan for me and the path he had set out before me. And when I messed up and made bad choices, I wondered how I would ever get back to that path where He was. Gratefully, I learned one day, that this God of ours does not leave us when we misstep or take a fall back to Peppermint Forest. He’s not somewhere standing on the right path impatiently waiting for us to catch up. He chooses to stay with us, just like my son did. Not just when we are lying beside green pastures and still waters. He is with us in the valleys, too. He says, “I’m just going to stay with you.” (from Psalms 23).

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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