I hope it is not up to luck.
If it is, then I’ve been very lucky this year. Well, not just this year. For most of my life.
I’ve never gone to bed hungry.
Except for that one night when I was ten and my mother prepared steamed fish which offended my sense of deliciousness which in turn offended my father’s sense of righteousness, which led to a bit of a battle of wills, which to this day we are not sure by whom it was won, but I did go to bed without supper, which could qualify for going hungry for one night.
Other than the steamed fish incident, I’ve never gone hungry.
I’ve never not had clothes to wear.
I’ve never had to wait in a long line of people in the hope of receiving medical care and had to go away ill & disappointed.
I’ve never wondered where I would sleep.
Except on one occasion when I was on a school tour as a thirteen year old and my host family did not care to inform me of the sleeping arrangements until just before bed time and the room they prepared was eventually quite cosy and comfortable so I imagine as far as ‘bad luck’ goes, that does not qualify either.
I had wonderful teachers who noticed me and gave me special attention.
I was able to go to University and even there I had lecturers who connected with me and gave me an extra edge.
I know a lot of people are ‘unlucky in love’.
Even in this the ‘unluckiness’ escaped me. I had high school romances. At the tender age of twenty-one I met Zuko, watched her being romanced by other boys and at the very mature age of twenty-three, after a brief romantic interlude of a few weeks, we got married.
We’re still married.
That in its own isn’t ‘lucky’.
I know various couples who have been married for decades, but who are desperately unhappy.
We’re happily married for almost sixteen years.
I think you would agree, I’ve been lucky.
Some folk are not only ‘unlucky in love’, they are also unlucky in procreation. They desperately long to have children but the dirty nappies and sleepless nights elude them.
We have three children.
Three healthy children with no more serious problems than the odd bit of disobedience and the intermittent bout of flu.
Between you and me, we shouldn’t have children. Not even one. The luck just doesn’t stop. At one stage when all three of them were simultaneously soiling their nappies and needed constant assistance with this most basic of human activities I did not feel that lucky, but even then, deep down inside of me I knew that I was lucky.
How lucky am I to be father to three magnificent healthy children and not to have to raise them on my own or even attempt to raise them at a distance on weekends and holidays.
My one friend, Manie, the one with the wisdom one-liners would say: ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’.
Perhaps there is some truth to that.
After all, Zuko and I had to do quite a bit of hard work to conceive three children, you know they don’t just appear in the womb. And I had to work hard at school to get good enough grades to progress to University and in turn had to work hard to move from one degree to the next, while working hard at every part-time job I could get to cover tuition fees.
Lazy people generally aren’t very lucky, it seems, but perhaps there is no truth to this piece of one-lined wisdom.
I did not work hard to get the teachers I had.
They just happened.
I did not work hard to fall in love with Zuko & get her to fall in love with me.
It just happened.
And if I’m really honest, conceiving the three beautiful children wasn’t hard work either. That sort of just happened as well in the utter absence of work.
Perhaps ‘luck’ has more to do with our vantage point than our position?
One single mom who battles to raise those two kids on her own, while holding two jobs and dealing with her destructive ex would see herself as ‘unlucky’, be disappointed and depressed.
Another single mom who battles as much to raise those two kids on her own, while holding two jobs and dealing with her destructive ex would consider herself ‘lucky’ to have two children and at least not be at the grace of that man.
Of being a single mom, however, I know nothing and can only speculate, but even I could focus on what I do not have or have not accomplished and consider myself ‘unlucky’, while Ivan who every morning arrives unsolicited at our office’s car park in the hope of being allowed to wash a car or two and take home forty or fifty bucks, might consider himself ‘lucky’ to have stumbled upon a car park with this many benevolent people who would even buy him a birthday present and sometimes share their lunch with him.
And then we can be ‘lucky’ and ‘unlucky’ at the same time.
I’ve tasted that.
At one stage, not so long ago, I was unemployed, my credit-line was maxed out, I did not know how on earth I would be able to pay the next month’s mortgage let alone the next day’s food or God forbid the bill of a medical emergency.
Yet at the same time I had the good fortune to have my Zuko at my side. My Zuko who proved that she did not love me for what I could provide and quite willingly went through the hard times with me, encouraging me, keeping up hope when there really was no hope left to scrape from the bottom of the barrel. And I was fortunate enough that not a single medical emergency emerged during this time. And I was fortunate enough to have a friend who bullied me into a job I would never in my wildest dreams have considered and now enjoy immensely.
At the same time my family and many friends ostracised us from their existence.
At the same time we made new friends.
Lucky and very unlucky slap bang at the very same moment.
Perhaps ‘luck’ is an inexplicable combination of randomness and grace and freedom.
A mixture in which grace is a key ingredient.
As I stand at this vantage point, looking out at this past year, my life and all the luck I’ve had, I cannot but agree that somehow things have worked out for me and us and this fills me with hope.
The hope that somehow I will be lucky enough that things will work out well into the future.
From this vantage point I’m also lead to believe that my kind of luck is not an impersonal kind.
It isn’t ‘random’ in an ‘accidental’ sense.
It is kind.
It is loving.
It is sometimes even pre-emptive and pro-active.
Almost orchestrated whilst allowing me to ‘be’ and ‘do’ and ‘become’ as I follow my heart and passions in freedom.
Lucky I am, even in the hardship, for I have been able to come to live a life disconnected from systems and expectations and religions, while being intimately connected to a being who has faith in me as much as I have faith in him.
I think a lot of my luckiness stems from this faith he has in me. An undeserved faith which he displays publicly as he entrusts children to my care. And Zuko, while entrusting me to her and their care as well.
And some stuff.
And some opportunity.
For me to do with as I see fit.
The luckiest of everything, and maybe this is the major reason why I cannot see my luck separated from him and his influence – the luckiest of everything is that I am filled with this desire to build and create and make more, not only in me, but in others as it is entrusted to me.
So perhaps it is up to luck, but then a kind of luck which comes from intimate and meaningful relationship with beings greater than myself.
I’m lucky to know you.
Yes, I’m very lucky.
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