In our story, I present the two primary players:

The Geode – often referred to as “Dinosaur eggs.”  These are geologic wonders formed when a small pocket of lava or other sedimentary substances form spherical rocks (a very hot process) in which an inner cavity is lined with silica.  Over time, this rock cools, and the silica begins to form growing crystals on the inner walls of this little round ball of geologic beauty.

The trick with a geode is that you never really know for sure which spherical little rocks will contain this little dazzling display on the inside; you can only know that this rock looks like other ones that have been geodes, was found in the same area as geodes, and (darn it) I want this to be a geode!  I paid that guy at the rock store $3 for this thing…

 

The Mango – or, more specifically, the Honey Mango.  Also known as “Manila Mango” or “Altuafo Mango,” these might just be the most amazing tropical fruit you’ll ever eat.  I first encountered them while living in Manila, where these were as common as apples in my native Washington; for such, I have been spoiled forever from all other mangoes.  Words cannot describe the amazing sweet flavor that comes out of these, nor the rich color and texture of the flesh.  Try one bite, and I’ll ‘scuse you while you kiss the sky…

 Here’s the rub, though; you can only tell so much just by handling it, looking at it, smelling it…the thick skin can hide a severly bruised interior, one which doesn’t reveal itself until after you’ve purchased the fruit and have prepared yourself for what you imagined would be a little bit of heaven in your mouth. 

To open either a potentially-awesome geode or a potentially non-bruised honey mango requires more than the few dollars you’ll be set back for the opportunity to discover either one: it requires taking on a bit of risk.  Ahh…the “R” word; many pursue it, many run from it, but like it or not, the fact remains that a risk-free life is a dull one.   

See, the problem with risk is that we don’t have control over the outcome; things could either go our way or not.  We don’t like that.  We like assurances that everything’s going to come out just fine…

Yes, we could live in a risk-free environment, hyper-sterilyzing everything our children touch, only eating at familiar restaurants, avoiding air travel because some stuff’s happened on planes before.   We could also wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and sit motionless in our houses, not wanting to “chance it.”

It would be easy to live a safe, comfortable life avoiding risks.  But then, we’d never get to enjoy the beauty of a freshly-cracked, crystal-lined geode, or the overpowering sweetness of a not-too-ripe, not-too-green honey mango.

Sure, in every risk there’s a chance of failure, but ascribing power to the fear of that means we’ve chosen a life of crippling bondage & fear over a life of geodes and honey mangoes…

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Rocks & fruit are some of the easy risks we’ll take; it gets messier when real life gets involved.  What about making a jarring career or lifestyle change because you’re feeling to serve God in a different way?  What about letting someone get close to you, and you getting close to them?  

These risks don’t come without the possibility of failure, and of pain.  But, as was pointed out to me recently, “Yes, you can focus on the elephant in the room, but then you’re missing the plants and the pictures and all the other great features in the room.” And, sure, we might get hurt…then what?  When’s the last time you got hurt, and didn’t eventually get back on your feet, wiser and stronger and a more interesting person for it?

I’ve decided that big rewards require big risks, but that those big risks are worth taking.  I suppose a decision to take more risks is itself a big risk, but I don’t want to let that stop me from the beautiful geodes and amazing mangoes that could possibly await on the other side…