“Okay, I made it,” the boy yelled. “Your turn.”
I hesitated, holding on to the cold iron gate with both hands, my feet propped on the third rail.
“C’mon! Just run as fast as you can!” I was eight years old, good at running as fast as I could.
I took a deep breath, eased down to the lowest rail, pointed a tentative toe out on to the ground. It felt firm. I got ready, then I pushed off and ran. The ground was dusty under my feet – it cracked and moved, like a live organism. Except it wasn’t ground – it was cow crap, about two feet deep with a hard crust and a not-so-hard inside.
* * * * *
Sometimes I think we take unnecessary risks. I’m not talking about the risks with upside, the risks that require more of us than we thought existed. At some point in life those leaps of faith aren’t even risks anymore – they are almost necessities: getting out of the job you hate to do what you love; committing to a relationship that doesn’t always make sense; moving somewhere new, starting fresh. Sure, these are risks, but the potential upside is immeasurably high.
The unnecessary risks aren’t anything like that at all – the upside to those is minimal, the downside monumental. That late night email chat with a friend you haven’t told your spouse about. Skimming a little money off the top, for yourself. Letting your mind go to places that only lead to self-destruction.
These risks are not worth taking.
* * * * *
About half way across the expanse of crap, my foot broke through. My leg plunged down to the knee. My sneakers, my jeans, the sock on my one foot: all ruined. Plus I probably smelled like shit for a week.
If you’re going to take a risk, take one with upside. Don’t sprint over a sea of crap.
True wisdom and real power belong to God; from him we learn how to live, and also what to live for. Job 12:13