“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Anon
I was re-reading an old book and I came across a bookmark. It was not only pretty but a verse on its face was in Portuguese and that grabbed more than my interest. It grabbed my heart. There was a private note on the back written to Doris by one of the world’s special ladies and a dear friend—Dna. Irene. I had to read it and as I did it took me on a strange adventure.
“Dearest Doris, “Many thanks for those pickled cucumbers. We are sad that you did not come. (I had gone to Brazil leading a work group. Anyway, there is then a bit about me). Dna. Irene finishes with “Thanks for everything; a hug for you along with many nostalgic memories. Irene.”
The story is this. Doris sent a few jars of a special cucumber pickle along with me in my baggage for Dna. Irene. Those pickles were so special to her that only close family or friends would get a taste of them. Doris took a chance those pickles would arrive safely, not spreading their contents all through my suitcases. When I thought of Doris gambling on getting those pickles to Brazil, it threw back the curtains and let in the light that explained her going to Brazil. That was a country where we had no friends. She gambled her life and future, adding to all that gambling what might touch the life of our four month old daughter Monica. Remember, it is impossible to stay on a street corner in any or the world’s great cities.
When Doris and I went to Brazil we had no one to meet us, knew nothing of the language, had no Brazilian money nor had any sure idea of where we were going. We were marching off the end of the world. Strange? Yes, but I remember this. The gambling instinct is part of the greatness of every human. What we did seemed so very normal to us back then for gambling is part of man’s God-given nature. We were living by faith–or we might call it gambling.
Gambling will be true when I plant my potatoes a few weeks before the rest of my garden. Also some other seeds go in too early—I’m gambling they will grow. We can refer to faith as gambling but of this I am sure; it is the noble instinct in man that prepares him for great adventures. To limit gambling to buying 649 tickets is to diminish life. We all have the ability for great enterprises and for that we accept the risks. We always step out into an obscure future.
A writer penned this during WWII. “Some men die by shrapnel, and some go down in flames. But most men perish, inch by inch, who play at little games.” My dad never finished grade school but he understood the gamble he and his family faced every day. So, often in family prayers he would say, “Lord, watch over us for this is an untried day that lies before us.” The italicised part is what I recall.
The bookmark has taken me on an adventure down through memories. It tells of Doris’ gambling on me being able to lead the way in Brazil and on all those difficult circumstances that transfixed our attention from day to day. Wanted—great gamblers—those who are ready to risk something or perhaps everything on the possibility that this world was fashioned by God and works best when we live by his instructions. Gamble your life on a life and eternity on Him!