Archives For risk

Dear [ ],

I’ve been thinking, and praying, about our conversation. Yes, we want to be as safe as we can. On the other hand, we don’t want to be so protected that we’re afraid to take any risks in life. I see that in us–a hesitancy to stretch ourselves, to step outside our comfort zones. Some of that is temperament, and some of it is the environment we’ve created.

That said, while I of course don’t want anything bad to happen, I think we need to consider:

We’ve always wanted to [ ], and have even prayed about it. Repeatedly. And the Lord has provided the means. If that’s not a message from God, then I don’t know what is.

Besides, by dishonoring the gift, we dishonor the Giver.

The fact is–whether it’s this, that, or the other–anything could happen to anyone–anytime, anywhere.

Individually, we could: slip, and fall in the shower, hit our respective heads. We could get into accidents on our ways to work. Or countless other things.

In the case of this particular [ ], while nothing in life is ever 100%, I believe we have reasonable assurances of relative safety: God has supplied all of needs according to His riches in glory, and sends His angels to keep watch over us.

I’m concerned that, by not stepping out, we’re sending ourselves–and those watching–the wrong message: that life is something to be feared, rather than something to be experienced. Here’s thing: God gave us life, and we–no matter what happens–are always in His care.

We have to entrust ourselves into His ever-capable hands.

I don’t say any of this to discount your intuition, your uneasiness, but rather to point out that we have reasonable assurances. Because it is in laying down our lives that we paradoxically find them.

Life, like God, is not safe–but it is good. (If you would contest this point, consider carefully in what meaningful sense the omnipotent Creator of the universe is “safe.” He is certainly, indisputably good, and is a rock of refuge. But there is a vast difference between being “safe,” and being a safe haven).

Make sense?

My gut, my hunch, my intuition–my spirit–is telling me it’s time to loose the apron strings a little, and let go. Because what happens when the next [ ] comes along? What do we do then?

What I come back to us this: if God didn’t want this to happen, He wouldn’t have provided the means for it. We have to trust that God knows what He’s doing.

In other words, we take it on faith–because life is not a balance sheet, an actuarial table. It’s not neat and tidy, but messy and often grimy. No more can we afford to be afraid to get our hands dirty.

You see: our very lives depend upon it. And faith does not grow without taking risks.

Do we have that? A faith the size of a mustard seed?

What do you think?

Awaiting your reply.

Your friend, Chad

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I Knew This Was Going To Happen
      I knew this was going to happen—even before we brought her home. Just long enough for affectionate bonds to form, for my life to reorient itself around our new adoptee. And now she has to leave.
      It began two-and-a-half weeks ago, when we missed an appoint at our groomers; we’d forgotten, and were late for a birthday party. We rescheduled; same “bat time,” different week. We would make sure that we were early this time around.
      The drop-off went well, we were told that it would be three, or four, hours. We went about our Saturday errands. We even stopped in at the appointed time, but our dogs weren’t ready; they said they would call. We did some more shopping.
      We returned to the groomers around 5:00 that afternoon. The dogs were ready, but as were preparing to pay, one of the groomers began to tell the story of a cat she’d rescued, and how it had given birth to a litter the very next day. Of the six, there was one left: a beautiful eight week-old black female, with long, soft, shiny fur, almost hazel eyes, and a tuft of white on her chest. You have to understand: despite severe allergies, my wife is a cat lover. And one of the saddest days of our lives was when we had to give up our two cats during her first pregnancy thirteen years ago. I’ll never forget her sneezing, crying, scratching herself as she said goodbye. I never thought, or dared hope, that we would have any cats ever again. Yet there we were, that Saturday afternoon, smacked unexpectedly upside the head with the very opportunity. And despite knowing the outcome, knowing with every fiber of my being that it couldn’t end any other way, I caved.
      You see, it was earlier that same day that my wife broached the subject of possibly giving up our dogs. There are reasons for this that I’ll not get into here. What she was saying made a certain amount of sense, but I implored her to think of the kids, and how much they love our dogs (well, at least one of them really loves the dogs, the other is into other things). This seemed to mollify her. Which is why, when asked about adopting the cute little kitten known as “Baby,” I told her she was crazy. Perhaps that wasn’t the kindest thing to say, but while my heart secretly leapt within me at the prospect, my head was having a hard time switching gears. Truthfully, she’s not crazy: she’s one of the bravest souls I know. After all this time, and years and years of allergy shots, she was willing to put her heart out there again. Which meant I would be putting my heart out there again—risking attachment to this sweet bundle of fur the kids named “Raven.” (You have to understand, I had a cat before I had a brother, and that cat—Cornelius–was my buddy. He tolerated my shenanigans when I was little (I once tried to flush him down the toilet), he was brave (he dropped out of willow tree onto the back of my friend’s German Shepherd—maybe in his mind he was trying to protect me–and went to town with teeth and claws before running off into the woods that separated our properties), and I loved him until he died at age eleven).
      It was an awful risk for both my wife and myself, bringing Raven home, but we did it. And as instantly as we’d fallen in love, so did our kids. But despite this, no matter how great our love, my wife is miserable with her allergies. Despite the weekly shots she’s been getting for years, it’s not working out. Our family needs her healthy more than we need a cat, thus Raven will be going back to the kind woman who rescued her mother; hopefully, she’ll find a home where she will be loved. And though I knew this was going to happen, it hurts—it hurts bad. Raven owns a little piece of my heart that our dogs have never really occupied. In the end, if all we can say is that we tried, then at least we tried. It was worth the risk. Love is always worth the risk.