Monday, September 12, 2011

Risk Taking

As a kid I used to jump at the chance to do something dangerous. I remember climbing to the top of the backstop in a park and jumping off with a parachute made from a smuggled sheet. It didn't work, but that did not stop my enthusiastic pursuit of the crazy. A Flintstone type push cart zoomed down a hill off of Valade street, only to be run into the grass and roll over. The two or three sticks designed to hold up the roof didn't work very well. The plunge into danger that almost cost me my life, according to my dad, involved stealing a rather large motor from an abandoned riding mower. The mower was in an abandoned barn on the outskirts of town. A Riverview policeman noticed two bikes in the tall grass, not well hidden, upon finding me and my accomplice in the act of removing the awesome go cart engine, he asked us a simple question. The question, "Boys what are you doing with that engine?" My reply revealed my stupidity, "We're looking to see what makes it work".

I escaped death that day, because I had an early morning paper route and every cop in Riverview knew my dad and all of my uncles. My zest for risk taking took a small vacation and I walked the boring and dreary path of complacency. Gladly the days of boredom didn't last long. Soon my brother and I were in the fields across Pennsylvania Road playing in the pond and catching frogs and germs. That is, until Todd almost cut his foot off from an old can that on the bottom of the pond and not seen. To this day he credits me with saving his life, I carried him on my back for a while. I used to remind him of how much of a favor I did for him.

Moving from my hometown to a small one bedroom cabin for my senior year was a risk the entire family took. The impact was greatest on the five of us who made the move. I left Riverview with one year of high school to go. At the time I didn't think much about it. We loved Northern Michigan and had talked often about living in the woods. So, a small one bedroom cabin with a kitchen and screen porch became home. That time of risk taking was done in ignorance and desperation.

The move to Zambia was a great risk, yet it was in a way, no risk. We were following the path that had been opened to us after ten years of waiting. A young American family moving to the bush of Zambia, facing the unknown with zeal and an adventurous spirit. Yes, there was a lot of risk. Every time you drove down the roads you were placing your life in peril. I witnessed cars driving down the roads with no windshields, doors and even rubber on their wheels. Mammoth trucks would drive at night with no tail lights. Road accidents claimed hundreds of victims each month.

Taking a risk can be costly. Insecurity lives within every risk decision. The fear of the unknown, or the known, awaits all risk takers. After our time in Zambia my desire to take risks was pretty well gone. The Zambian risk almost cost a daughter and wife to be swept away. Four years after returning to the states I took another risk, resigning from officership. The doors opened for us to buy a small apple orchard near Hubbard Lake, Michigan.

Donna and I both found jobs and I thought, "Genesis Farm" would indeed be a place of new beginnings. The fact of the matter is quite simple. I decided to resign from ministry based on a flawed institution. Isn't everything run by man flawed? My resignation did not mitigate God's call and impress upon my life, nor Donna's life. Some years after our move I stepped out of my secluded acreage and pastored a small church. That risk was richly rewarded by the blossoming and determined life of Ana. For five years that little girl caused quite a stir in Lily white Alcona County. Her basketball and track prowess brought love from her friends and families and vile statements from bigots and haters.

The time in Alcona came to a close when I was rushed into the hospital for emergency spinal cord surgery. The surgery went as well as could be expected, the recovery, well, it did not go so well. My spinal cord suffered permanent damage and left me with partial paraplegia. Seems like my risk taking days would be over. I fought that idea and want to continue fighting it. I began writing a book as part of my own personal therapy. The book, "A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God", chronicles the life struggle of Ana and the events that surrounds her miraculous journey.

I have sat, not really, on that manuscript for a few years. As I hate rejection I have just given lip-service to publication. I know that there is a powerful message of inspiration and challenge to individuals and the church within the pages. A number of people have told me so. I know that a major publishing house is not the route for this book. I have tons of information on self-publishing and also tons of information on how much it costs. Any and all routes will demand taking a risk. I know and understand that the risk will be worth it as the rewards will be the accomplishment of completion and the unknown blessings that would come to those who would read the pages and understand the message.

Please pray for me that I would take the risk and get off my rear, which I can't feel anyway.


  1. Dear Lord, the words you have laid on Tedd's heart have yet to be shared with a world waiting to hear. I ask if it be your will Lord that you will nudge Tedd forward and the book will be published, blessing the many. Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer.

  2. You remain in my prayers, friend. I look forward to reading your first of many books.