16 April 2009

risk part 1: of little plastic cannons and the fullness of fatherhood


I love the game of RISK. Little plastic infantry-men, cavalry, and cannons…and dice. I can’t help it. I love RISK.

In the game, you move your fake plastic armies around a simplistic world map in an attempt to conquer lands, grow military might, and eventually conquer the other players on your way to global domination.

Every move in RISK is exactly what the game title implies. Risky. Attacking leaves one vulnerable in defense. Becoming overly conservative leaves one vulnerable to growing threats abroad. RISK is usually won with a combination of consistently focused internal dialogue and luck.

Life is not dissimilar.

Every life decision is full of risk. And generally, the axiom holds true that with great risk comes great reward.

Having children means that one is willing to risk the health of the mother through pregnancy and birth. It means that one is willing to risk complications in a child and long nights in the hospital if something should ever go wrong. It means that one is willing to risk pouring love (and emotional, spiritual, and financial resources) into a being that is not required to give an equitable return on that investment.

But the fullness I feel as I hold my child tightly, the overwhelming joy and hope that I experience as I look into her eyes and find trust on the deepest of levels, and the indescribable way that my heart overflows when she recognizes my face and gives me a smile that I would swear is reserved for Daddy…

Hard to imagine that I once swore off children. Having spent too much time in Children’s Hospitals with a sibling, I vowed to never take that chance myself. And yet as God stretched my heart and dredged my soul into a deeper place of understanding, I began to sense that maybe there was beauty and fullness and glory in becoming a father. And the risk, no matter where we go from here, has been rewarded beyond my wildest imagination.

So, how do we process risk? And where are we allowing risk to paralyze us?

More tomorrow from me on risk…where are those risks in your life? What are the possible consequences of acting? Of failing to act? Leave a comment. Share.


  1. We've played RISK the past two weekends in a row...after yrs & yrs of not playing. :-)

  2. I've never played Risk, but my pastor and his brother-in-law used to play it for hours on end. His wife (who is usually very quiet and patient), has been known to get sick of playing with them and swipe the entire board over with one sweeping motion of her arm. That cracks me up.

  3. I swore off ministry because of the risk of really screwing people up as a byproduct of my inconsistent devotion to God.

    I swore off moving to Texas because it was undesirable.

    I hesitated on children because it would mess up my options and fluidic range.

    I hesitated on making a connection with you before you went to africa last time because I thought you were so focused on an upcoming destination we wouldn't likely have meaningful engagement.

    I hesitate to confront someone I love about hazards in their life for fear they will sever our relationship or it will create a funk of resistance worse than the current dysfunction.

    I used to think risk management was determining which off-ramps to take, not realizing staying put was as risky as moving. (insert Roy Rogers quote)