I told Declan the story of the Passover the other night. Too many people separate Judaism and Christianity. I imagine being a Jew in the time of Jesus–Romans, poverty, political turmoil. Being a Jew in the time of Jesus was sort of like being a colonist during the Revolutionary War.
If I were a Jew, I probably would’ve stayed a Jew. If I were a colonist, I’d have stayed British. I’d’ve picked the low-risk side each time.
I don’t love risk. I guess it’s why so many of my friends are great entrepreneurs–they do. If I had enough money I’d sit by a pond and write like Thoreau. That’s about as low-risk as it gets unless you don’t pay your taxes. I pay a ton of taxes so I won’t have to worry about Uncle Sam.
Thoreau hid out by Walden’s Pond. His mom brought him sandwiches and he got arrested for not paying taxes. His friends thought he was being stupid and bailed him out after one day. He was mad. He never got to make a gallows speech about how the government misuses funds. He had to write Walden instead.
Not that Massachusetts ever killed anyone for not paying their taxes–just for being a witch. I don’t know what they do about witches these days–hire them to fix the economy or work on global warming? For taxes, they send you a coupon book. It’s the new, friendly IRS. They know you get more blood from a stone with honey, so they smile and make a car payment out of it. America’s used to car payments.
Life’s about taking risks, they say. Risk equals reward. I watched Shark Tank with my economics students. Now they all want to be entrepreneurs, except not everyone can because the word’s long and French. Nobody can spell it, so a few of them will have to be something else. I tell them they’re amazing no matter what, just don’t go too deep into college debt. That’s worse than a car payment. Who ever thought we’d come to the point where going to college would be a risk instead of a reward?
I study risk takers and wonder what it would be like to thrive on adrenaline just because. Not because there’s an emergency, a problem to be solved, or because people have jobs and lives depending on you–risk for the sake of risk–for the highs and lows and addiction to the feeling. Some people have that gene.
If I want risk something on purpose, I’ll jump out of an airplane or go parasailing. Parasailing is pretty cool. I saw the entire ocean on a sunny day, floated on a cloud, and came back down to earth. It was incredible.
I have yet to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
After failing so miserably with the Passover story, I decided not to risk telling Declan the uncensored story of Easter. The last time we read Bible stories, Declan was mad at God for weeks. “God’s really mean. He made them leave their home. Why didn’t he like Cain’s gift as much as Able’s? That’s unfair.”
“God turned Lot’s wife into salt?” That was the bright spot. “Well, at least God has good pretzels.”
I said Easter is about resurrection, not food.
“We’re not dead,” he said.
“It’s a metaphor…It represents something.”
“Yeah, candy.” When you’re seven, everything finds its way back to candy, mud, or farts.
It was finally late enough for our egg hunt so we started looking for what the Hopping Heathen hid. I do not start kids’ holiday stuff at dumb o’clock in the morning. Ever.
Besides, when I was little, we all had to wait. Everyone woke up and had a complete breakfast before any holiday began. After we’d waited patiently, we’d wait some more while Mom or Dad got more coffee.
Now I’m getting more coffee and making the next generation wait.
Maybe it’s all training for adulthood where we stand around and wait for training, jobs, paychecks, and lives when we should be taking some risk making these things happen. Who knows?
Spring’s here after a long winter–a very good time for risk and resurrection.
I went into my garden. I saw a row of garlic I thought had died. Everything grows in its own time and eventually develops into something of use to mankind. Some things take longer than others. I found my resurrection.
Now for my risk. I think I’ll get some chickens. I look around the yard. I imagine it full of chickens. A chicken hawk circles overhead. He’s also imagining a yard filled with chickens. “Risk it!” he says, “Get the chickens!”
Imaginary Chicken Number 1 turns to me. “Easy for you to say. Our lives are the risk. You get the rewards. Eggs.”
That may be true but I don’t like back talk so I rename Imaginary Chicken Number 1 “Coq au Vin.” He’s a ringleader. I don’t want a chicken mutiny. Chickens should peck bugs in the garden while carefully avoiding plants.
“Don’t worry,” I tell Coq, “I’m a vegetarian. You’re safe here.” I tell the hawk to stay away from my imaginary chickens, even Coq au Vin–unless he mouths off again. I wink. The hawk winks back. We have an understanding.
I find a few more plants poking up in the garden. Spring. Rebirth. Resurrection. It’s all semantics. Each new life is a tiny miracle, no matter what you call it.
I settle down for a bowl of Easter-Passover lentil soup. The boy eats a ton of candy. Better to let him consume the sugar all at once. Maybe he’ll barf and eat veggies next time. At least he won’t get in trouble as much at school once the candy runs out.
That’s a spring miracle indeed.
You are more of a risk taker than you know, Dawn. You’re raising a child-you got married-every day is unique. You teach at a high school-these days that is risky! But you hold to your own values, no matter what! I could go on and on…I really enjoyed your article. It’s my morning newspaper! Thanks.