taking risks…

It is always reassuring when your employer wants you alive. I know I am valued, appreciated, they gave me a wordy safety policy, a love letter of sorts. When you shuffle staff around some of the more unstable places on earth that means rather long policies, like the Bible kind of long..

In parts of the world, risk feels a just little riskier. We walk stalked by daily hazards, the rollercoaster roads, the crackling socket, the glass of water might just prove fatal. Here it is comforting to know that someone else has worked out the odds, drawn the lines between do’s and don’ts and paid the insurance!

In parts of the world, risk feels a just little riskier. We walk stalked by daily hazards, the rollercoaster roads, the lightning strike, the crackling socket, the glass of water might just prove fatal. Here it is comforting to know that someone else has worked out the odds, drawn the lines between do’s and don’ts and paid the insurance!

Some instructions seem so obvious they’re almost funny. The note on Ebola – ‘if you see someone bleeding profusely from their eyes, ears and mouth, don’t touch them’. The sign teetering on edge of the furiously raging newborn Nile – ‘do not go beyond this point’ and then a swimmer sails past clutching a water bottle for buoyancy…

But there is no doubt that risk can overwhelm us. We lose our loved ones. We are left with broken lives. The news haunts us with the stories of how life springs nasty surprises: the earthquake, the storm, the knife in the dark, plane crash, car smash, packet of pills. There are a thousand ways to die. Even our cells sometimes betray us, give us away.

Nowhere is safe and this will probably not end well…

I met a guy recently who was afraid to hold a hand for fear of germs. I was sadder for him than I am for myself with my poor bleeding, bleating heart.

It is all to easy  to see the danger everywhere and retreat, to hide ourselves from life behind dead bolts, fibre pills, alcho-wipes and illusions of control.

Of course none of that will save us. We are born to die, born without a safety policy. There is usually no expert to track down that elusive point of acceptable risk, the point where ‘kind of safe’ meets ‘really worth doing’. There is no GPS, we can’t pin safe on a map, its open to debate.

The trick is to be smart but live with passion, to be heartfelt. To live long if we can, but above all else, be sure to live, to make sure to live before we die.

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