I Believe in Taking Chances

Jan - Aledo, Illinois
Entered on April 28, 2008

I believe in taking chances. I believe in taking a chance in not believing in Jesus. I believe in other forms of redemption. I believe in giving unfair grades. Fair grades are easy and obvious. Unfair grades take more courage to defend and give a bit of an edge to someone who might deserve more than you think. I believe in alcoholics. My daughter is one. She’s been sober for five years now and recently graduated with an advanced degree from a good university. She’s taught me to take a chance on people who we think deserve to be down and out. She’s taught me to give money to street bums who stand on the corners of our highways with signs that say “I will work for food.” I believe they will. And I believe they won’t. But I believe it’s worth taking a chance on them. I believe in not locking doors.

I believe in great books. And I believe Ulysses and Prufrock could have been even better if the authors would have found some way to relate to ordinary readers. I believe museum culture is valuable and busy, but there’s something better about being in a landscape that’s big enough to be quiet. I believe rugged rocks have more character than polished gemstones.

I believe in dogs, and that Great Danes are more interesting than shiatsus, mostly. I believe in letting my house cat keep her claws. I believe in taking a chance on following fresh cougar tracks in the snow until they disappear. But I don’t believe in waiting around to introduce myself.

I believe in wearing laughable clothes including cowboy boots. I believe in letting my eyebrows grow. And yet, I believe in preserving my libido even if no one’s interested, even if I’m getting too old to wear cheesecake in the bedroom. I believe in taking a chance on being lonely so I can write a book. I believe in taking Midwestern grandchildren to the big sky country for the summer so they can dream bigger than the mountains they’ll climb. In the winter I believe in teaching a blind grandchild from Phoenix how to snow ski. At home I believe in letting dandelions grow and planting acres of wild flowers, and if I hang up a garden shears with a sign that says, “Pick a bouquet of wildflowers for someone you love!” that maybe people won’t trash my creek. I believe in taking a chance on love, in a big way.