Tag Archive | "chess"

God, the Economy, and Chess

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Like the fiery avalanche that felled the Twin Towers, 9/11 ripped through our collective consciousness and continues its ripple effect.  Who among us in the metropolitan area has not, in that horrific blink of an eye, suffered an irreplaceable loss?  Who of us is not acquainted with someone snatched from the jaws of death that day by a seemingly random quirk of fate?  As a native New Yorker with her feet now planted on Jersey soil, my connections to those once-mighty towers include the father-in-law who had helped erect the exoskeletons designed to withstand all but the unthinkable, and a sister-in-law who narrowly escaped with her life and that of her unborn child.  As a writer servicing the Central New Jersey area, my profession aligned me, briefly and irrevocably, with clients whose lives were forever altered by the events of September 11, 2001 — individuals whose experiences altered my own perceptions of self, God, and the interconnectedness of every living creature.


These individuals include the sole surviving employee of the prominent investment firm, Cantor-Fitzgerald (not the CEO who appeared extensively afterwards in the media, but a salaried worker).  Minutes before a twisted kamikaze rammed the hijacked plane through the skyscraper housing the firm, this woman was sent to fetch breakfast for her managers.  From a coffee shop on the street she was thus positioned, like a queen on a chessboard, out of harm’s way.  Another client, a registered nurse who’d ministered to some of the victims of the World Trade Center, confided to me things so heartbreaking and shocking that I have never repeated … or forgotten.


There were other clients, of course, immediately following 9/11.  But of all the strangers whose lives intersected with mine in the wake of this national tragedy, one remains foremost in my mind.  And there she will remain until the day that I quit this earth.


A professional woman so beautiful and regal that she could have modeled, she had been born abroad, educated well on American soil, and was respected in her field; in other words, a woman not given to flights of fancy.  After conducting our business, our talk turned inevitably to what had recently taken place beneath the Statue of Liberty’s eyes, including human courage and Divine intervention.  The client informed me that one of her close relatives had been born with the double-edged sword of clairvoyance, enabling her to predict, without fail, natural disasters of a very specific nature.   When manifested, the woman’s gifts had been documented and published by objective, qualified scientific personnel.  What remained undocumented and what my client confided to me were the less spectacular aspects of her foresight, the ability to foretell things as easily as a person beholding a cloudy sky and predicting rain.


Whether or not we have purposely sought them out, most of us sometime in our lives have encountered people with such gifts.  These complete strangers will divulge some hidden nugget of truth so deeply personal and so accurate that their very utterances send the hairs, one by prickling one, rising up along our bodies.  Strong, instinctual reactions such as this are often attributed to confronting The Truth with capital “Ts” (that from which there is no escape). What my client relayed to me via her relative, with respect to 9/11, raised the goose bumps on my own body as if in the face of unstoppable sirocco.


“We are being repositioned,” my client quoted with conviction.  “God is sending us all — the good, spiritual people, that is — to where we can do His will most effectively.  We may resist and rail against these changes.  We may be very surprised by where we land.   But go we will, for it is impossible to deny the will of God.”


Time and again, this haunting prophecy comes back to me; given the state of the economy, it returns lately with increasing frequency.  If 9/11 sparked the beginning of our worst economic decline since the 1930s, is God using the marketplace as a catalyst for this great, presaged shifting of humanity? Loss of income, loss of material possessions, and the accompanying loss of pride will, and is, moving many of us into strange new geographic and psychological territory.   Ripped of what we had once taken for granted and finding ourselves on a more leveled playing field with our fellows, what will become of us as individuals, a nation, an entire world?  Will we rediscover our compassion and share our remaining resources with others?  Will we, like the wise Native Americans whose example we refused to follow, take only what we really need?  Or will we revert and like cavemen, fight tooth and nail for a piece of whatever is needed to survive?  Will we, in the end, become nothing more than chess pieces on some cosmic board, moved at the whim of an Almighty hand?


Like the Push Me-Pull You in Doctor Dolittle’s world, I am of two minds with respect to this prediction that, eerily, appears to be coming to fruition.  Part of me is tired of fighting the good fight, tired of acting in a lawful and responsible manner while the bloodsuckers at the top of the food chain get away with murder … well, at least, corporate bailouts equating to financial immunity and stability.  That part of me embraces the ideology behind the old R.E.M. hit, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”


The other part of me balks at the notion of being a pawn; that part cites the power of free will.  If we operate under free will (and the headlines, obviously, confirm that we do), do we not possess the stamina and intelligence to change our circumstances, to pull us up by our own bootstraps?  Do we not possess the ability to view the tanked economy as a huge and largely unprecedented opportunity — a door opening onto a brave new world, a true renaissance in every sense of the word?


If I had the answers to my own questions, I would not be writing for a living. I’d be making hand over fist as the greatest seer of our time, greater than my client’s kin.  The only answer I do have is couched in the advice of a much loved and at one time, much maligned celebrity.  In coming to terms with her own revelation, in which she found joy and wonder and spirituality, Shirley MacLaine has stated:


“Perception is everything.”


Indeed, it is. 

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