We all take chances. I mean, just stepping outside of the front door is taking a chance. Every day there is the unexpected in life. Nothing really is certain except that it’s UNcertain.
But, there are some of us who take contemplated chances. We know the odds are against us…the outcome weighs more heavily on the negative than the positive, on the difficult rather than the easy, and opposing forces are screaming from the outside and within, “YOU SHOULDN’T DO THIS! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!”
I tend to be one of those souls. I roll with my heart. I believe in the maybe’s, the what if’s, the you never know’s, and the anything can happen’s. Even when I get knocked down hard to the ground, eventually I make may way standing, the pain subsides a bit, and I become ready to face the next challenge or welcome the next opportunity.
I’ve been like this when it comes to romantic relationships, jobs, moving, even haircuts…Go ahead, cut it all off! It’ll grow back if I don’t like it. It’s only hair!
Taking chances can be costly. Costly financially, costly emotionally, and costly physically. I’ve lost a lot because of my chance taking. I know I have. I’ve struggled because of it at times. I’ve been down to pennies in my bank account and brought to my knees in heartbreak and devastation on my own accord.
I’ve also lived.
I’ve also loved.
I’ve also learned things I would have never learned about myself and the world around me had I not taken those chances.
I’ve thrived on the rhythmic pitter-patter of an adrenaline-prone decision made with a quick “let’s do this!”
My first year in high school I went to a football game and ended up sitting next to the drum line in the stands. The cadences rumbled through my body, and my hands began to tap my knees in sync. I had ALWAYS wanted to play the drums, and whenever I busted out my Go-Go’s albums I’d turn over the trash can in my room and grab two pencils as drumsticks and try to keep a beat with Gina Shock. I had been taking piano lessons since age 7, and my dad told me that when I turned 14 I could try the drums.
I was with my best friend at the game, and I told her, “I want to do that!” She looked back at me with a twisted mouth and raised eyebrow and sarcastically replied, “Good luck. You’re not even in the band.”
Most drum lines consisted entirely of boys. I started taking drum lessons and told my teacher my goal: to make the drum line at my school. He gave me every chop-building exercise he could and by my sophomore year I made it. By my junior year I was lead snare drummer. All because I took a chance.
This is only one of many, many examples in my life.
Many of you know I rescued a horse last September. Fancy. She is the first horse I’ve owned after taking up riding along with my daughter three years ago. She was for sale on Craig’s List, and I was only beginning to look around at horses-one that would fit the riding and confidence level of both of us. I knew the risk was great in horse ownership, but the urging within me was strong.
Fancy was out in a field up in North County, and on what was supposed to be a super fun day meeting new horses and getting a feel for all this adventure entailed, we found her….starving and neglected…not what we expected.
I took a halter the crazy owner had on the fence and walked the horse out of the pasture. I rubbed her dry and dusty coat with my hands. I ran my hand down her blaze. I stared into her eyes. My daughter started to cry when she saw her. I couldn’t hold back the tears, either. The friends who were with us, our trainer and her daughter, looked on, horrified, at the bones showing through the horse’s skin.
Her gaze haunted me as we left that afternoon. I felt it was saying, “Don’t leave me. I am so much more than what you see here.” And, then the following week I took a chance. I took a chance on Fancy. Against just about every piece of advice from close family and friends, against the knowledge that my checking account balance wasn’t nearly what it should be for this task, against the odds running through my head that I could actually pull this off, and with my little one’s pleading that we couldn’t just leave Fancy there to die, with gusto and resolve, I exclaimed:
LET’S GO GET HER!
Fancy was diagnosed with brain disease this past Friday. We’ve been advised that we’ll need to put her down sooner than later. It’s been a roller coast five months with Fancy re-gaining her health and weight and yet having seizures and other inexplicable neurological symptoms, despite being the best horse a single mom and her daughter could ever want-gentle and kind and loving. Bringing Maycee out of some of her worst anxiety, building her confidence again in riding and bringing us both an immense amount of joy as we head to the barn every night to groom and feed OUR horse.
Joy in learning, joy in new friendships, joy in knowing we CAN do this horse ownership thing.
Just like the timid teenager who made drum line 25 years ago, this single mom will keep testing the odds and setting the example that life is too short to sit on the sidelines and watch. There are times that despite what makes logical sense, it’s ingrained in some of us to act.
I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t been crushed by this recent news. I’m not going to pretend I’m not sad and dreading what has to be done. I’m not saying I haven’t questioned my decision and doubted myself and cursed God and wondered “why me, why us, why our horse, why now”?
However, when asked, “Would you do it again?” My answer without hesitation is “yes”.
I believe in taking chances. I believe in taking chances because even if the ending isn’t the happy one we hoped for, there’s a silver lining woven in every cloud. If clouds take over the sky, more silver sparkles, shining ever so brightly if we look for it. I need to remember this.