The other night I challenged my sister to a spur of the moment best-of-3 round of rock paper scissors. Both of our cars were in the shop and I said, “Ok, whoever loses pays for both cars.” I was getting a simple oil change- less than $30. I assumed she was doing the same. Nope. $175 check-up. Wha wha WHAT?!?! “Are you sure you want to do this,” she asked, “because mine costs a whole lot more than yours.”
I thought about it for a second. I would be dumb to play, right? Save $30 or spend over $200? All decided by a game of chance?
And yet I went for it.
It is the exact opposite of my usual reaction. ESPECIALLY when the loss is much more costly than the gain. But I’m in a funny place right now where risk is really important to me. Not necessarily taking risks, but evaluating them; where I’m trying to decide at what level I’m willing to risk and at what level I’m willing to lose.
Our family was piled in Mom’s minivan, driving less than a mile to the car shop, so it wasn’t some monumental experience. Nothing out of the ordinary. Yet it was for me.
Because in my heart, I’m deciding about whether to take some BIG risks that are VERY costly. And so I knew that I wanted to (dare I say “needed to”?) take this small risk, almost as practice. Just a way to prove this to myself: even if the decision doesn’t make sense, maybe I should just try it because I want to. Don’t think so much. It’s okay to be wrong. To lose. Quit playing it safe all the time and start playing.
And so as we dueled to the count of “one-two-three-shoot”, I felt my insides grow. Weird, I know. But it’s true. I felt them expand to fill the shell in which they are housed. Maybe my soul grew? Maybe my risk-er grew? I don’t know.
I had eaten dinner with some friends of mine the night before and the wife said this, “ You can stay the same, not lose anything, but never know what there was to be gained. Or you can risk, guaranteeing some loss, and yet gain more than you knew was possible.”
So with all this turning in my mind, I threw a rock to beat her scissors. Then I threw a paper to beat her rock. I won. We got dropped off at the dealership where she begrudgingly paid for my oil change. I gloated.
And then I got in my car and cried because I think I’m going to risk.