CANDY CRUSHED- Rev. Susan Walker

Special Lifestyle Feature by Rev. Susan Walker for L Town Radio

I’m one of the 293 million people who are playing Candy Crush in 2019 and sometimes people look at me and ask “YOU play Candy Crush?” as if church pastors should not be spending time on such trivial pursuits. I am not normally drawn to meaningless games but somehow this one got me six years ago and I have been playing it ever since. Maybe I like it because it reminds me of the old school game “Candyland” that I played as a child and then played with my children. Maybe I’m hooked because I love candy and this is a calorie free way of having my candy and not eating it too. Those are good reasons but when examining my personality it could be that Candy Crush is playing on the inner desires of over achievers who don’t like to fail.

Yes, I am an over achiever and proud of it. Setting goals and accomplishing them makes me happy. My husband calls me an arrow because I get up every morning with a bull’s eye in mind and it’s my job to hit it before the day is over. This makes life exciting and for the most part is a great way to live. However, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 my over achieving world was shattered. Suddenly my days were filled with medical appointments and hours of waiting to be seen. Sitting and waiting is misery for type A personalities so I decided to play Candy Crush to pass the time.

In the beginning it was easy to beat the game of matching three candies in a row and go to the next level. As I sat waiting in the Dr.’s office I was achieving a goal of making it to the next level of the game and this gave me a feeling of accomplishment. “Maybe this is why people play this game” I thought to myself. We all need to feel a sense of accomplishment and while I couldn’t control what was happening to my body, I could control moving to higher levels in Candy Crush. Or so I thought.

It wasn’t long before the game got harder and the first time I did not automatically make it to the next level I saw these words “You failed! You did not reach your goal!” What? “How dare you talk to me like that?” I shouted inwardly to the phone screen. It could have been nicer about it. It could have said “You tried your best and almost made it.” It could have said “You were so close – try again!” It hurt my pride to fail. The game was yelling at me like a football coach making his team do push ups after a loss. “No, I’m an arrow and I may have missed the mark, but I didn’t fail. Don’t tell me that!” I said to the phone screen indignantly. “I’ll show you…..” Accepting failure was unnatural for me and I wasn’t having it.

That was six years ago. Today I’m cancer free and no longer waiting in Dr’s offices but I’m still playing Candy Crush. I hear the game has over 3,000 levels and to date I have learned how to be a real loser. After six years of playing I am only on level 434. Please don’t tell anyone. This level of underachievement is a source of shame in the Candy Crush world. Instead of an arrow, I’m more like a kid at the carnival trying to throw dimes into empty Coke bottles. I know most all of them will miss the mark, but if just one would fall in….just one….so I keep trying.

I have been Candy Crushed. When my back is against the wall and I am a loser once again the game will ask “Give up?” Today I can say “Yes”’without flinching even though I know the game will

then yell at me “You failed! You did not reach your goal!” My overachieving personality has been tamed by a silly game but at least in my failure they aren’t getting my money to buy extra lives and special candies to help me win. I’m smarter than that. I am a Candy Crush freeloader and that is one goal where I’m a winner every time.

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

Rev. Walker is also a weekly Guest Lifestyle Columnist for L Town Radio.

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