Many of you are aware that I am passionate about the game of Mah Jongg. Not the Chinese version, but the American version that is played mostly by women all over the country. It is a game that is becoming more mainstream with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Julia Roberts playing it. However, many people aren’t aware that it is a game that is often handed down from generation to generation as grandmothers teach mothers and mothers teach daughters. Those of us who are lucky enough enough to find ourselves a part of this world suddenly realize that we are a part of something truly magical.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending three days at a Mah Jongg tournament in New Orleans. The tournament directors also chose Bring Smiles to Seniors as their designated charity for this event. One hundred fifty three women and three men playing a game that they love and admire. As I sold tickets for the charity raffle, I got to talk to people and hear their personal stories that inspired me, lifted me up and warmed my heart. The collective compassion that can be found in a room of people there for a common purpose is truly astounding, especially in the competitive environment of a tournament.
The most amazing thing to me is the acceptance of men in what has traditionally been a woman’s world. Many women have regular groups that they have been part of for many years. Yet, rather than act as if they we are infiltrating their world, they greet us with open arms, support us in our charity work, root us on in competition and are there to celebrate with us when we are successful. They don’t see gender, they see the person and often they become more than just friends, they become family.
There are times when we find that little piece of life that makes us smile, laugh, cry and complete. That is what the Mah Jongg world has become for me. A place where I can escape the mire of the outside world and for those few moments be a part of something wonderful and fun. My hope for today is that you too have found that little part of your world where, for that moment in time, you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Have a great day and remember to be the reasons someone smiles.
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