If You're Lucky

What is the greatest reward that can come from risk? I'm sure the answer is different for each and every one of us. Is it life after facing death? Someone needing surgery might think so. Is it having a lot of money after making a financial decision? Ask a wise investor. Is it freedom and prosperity after fleeing a bad situation? Our country is full of people who would say yes. Or is it nothing more than the knowledge that a personal choice in life led to a greater life? For those who are fortunate and carefully weigh their options when taking a risk, there are rewards.

Of course there is also the possibility that great risk leads to misfortune, undesirable circumstances, or even tragedy and lives are cut short all too often from risky behaviors whether it's not wearing a seat belt, using drugs, eating a terrible diet, or smoking.
For me the choice to take a risk must be accompanied by the likelihood of a great reward of some type. Buying homes must promise a good chance of being able to sell it when the military tells us we have to move. Deciding what my family will do is always based on what will be best in what we like to think of as the long run. (Even if the longest "run" we have had anywhere is three years!)

My husband is a Marine. The life of someone in the military is so full of risk yet the rewards are often nothing more than pride in a mission completed. There are times when the reward after a long day's work is survival. It seems unfair sometimes for me to consider the day to day risks I choose to take in order to achieve or obtain something knowing how different the risks are for some.

Tour guides at Shahara, Yemen
One of the best hiking experiences we ever had when we lived in Yemen was a hike to Shahara Bridge. We climbed an enormous mountain with a group of American friends, Yemeni guides, and a group of armed Yemeni military guards. It was so remote, so incredibly rugged that it is difficult for me to believe I have been there. The danger facing hikers to the bridge is first and foremost falling to their death and I believe that in the photo above where I'm sitting on the edge of a canyon above the bridge, I have my arm braced on the rocks behind me as though I was aware of that then.
After reaching the bridge at Shahara, Yemen
There was also the distinct possibility that as Americans we might not have received a warm welcome by the locals. Terrible things could have happened to our group on that hike but fortunately nothing did. We had a great adventure that I'm sure none of us will ever forget. Did friends that stayed home feel the risk was too great to take the hike with us but then regret their decision, having missed such an experience? I don't blame anyone who believed the reward was not enough to risk taking the trip. We all exhausted ourselves with the climb and then slept on the floor in one room and shared a bathroom with a hole in the floor for a toilet. I'm grateful that my 2005 self felt that the reward was worth the risk because I don't think my 2013 self would.
Risk is as unique to each person as rewards are. Do I believe the saying that with great risks come great rewards? The only answer I can think of is, if you're lucky.


  1. Wow! That sounds like some hike! I am glad you took the risk as that is something most people will never get to experience. 2013 is very unsettled over there, so I am glad you did this in 2005! I am a New Yorker myself! I have dreams of moving but work and family keep us here. Thanks for the kind visit and words on my card! It made my day!

  2. Great post. You covered so many aspects about risk. It sounds like an amazing adventure you went on in 2005.

  3. Hi, enoyed reading about your hike. I loved the pictures too. Looks like your risk turned into a great lifelong memory. :)


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