God Hates a Coward by R.L. Cherry

 

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As an avid game player, I have oft enjoyed the board game Risk.  It is aptly named, for to win you must eliminate all of your opponents to become the ruler of the world.  Often there is a point where you must decide to risk either wiping out another player (thereby gaining your opponent’s countries and any men-replacement cards) or weakening yourself so much that another player will be able to easily destroy you.  If you act too soon and without enough men, you will fail and lose.  If you hesitate too long, you might lose any advantage you have and again lose the game.  It is a matter of wisely assessing the options and then taking an educated gamble.  However, even if you have correctly evaluated the best course of action, you might fail.  As in life, there are no sure things.  In Risk, you use dice to determine the outcome.  In life, depending on your world view, there is the will of God, fate, luck, or some combination of these factors that affect the outcome.  When I played Risk with friends I have had since high school and there came that point of stepping off the edge, trusting your wisdom and the dice, we had a saying.  “God hates a coward.”  Then you rolled the dice and took your chances.

 

Just like “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” don’t look for that quote in the Bible.  I won’t attest to its theological soundness, but there is an element of truth.  If you never risk anything, you won’t win the game and will miss out on much of life.  Now don’t take this as an endorsement of gambling everything on a roll of the dice.  Las Vegas has built huge, glitzy casinos from gamblers with that philosophy.  Try to be logical rather than rash in decisions.  However, there are times in life when to take that “leap of faith.”  A person’s religious path is, of course, the obvious one.  It is not provable by any accepted test, yet we cast our lots (and possible afterlife) with the ones we choose.  But what about all the other ones in life, like what we do with money, love and what we do with our lives?   If we never risk, we will never win.  But always logically evaluate the risk of failure against the potential return.

 

First, consider money.  Putting your bankroll on “Hard 6” on the crap table will most likely help MGM Mirage’s City Center casino pay off its mortgage rather than make you rich.  It’s risk versus return.  Huge risks may have the potential for high return, but seldom pay off.  While fortune, as Latin proverb says, may favor the bold, it rarely favors the stupid.  Not being one to trust my financial fate to cards or dice, I may be a little prejudiced, but gambling in markets where I can make an educated evaluation rather than a gut one has been my policy.  While God might hate a coward, He does not love a sucker.  I do not advocate stuffing all your money in a mattress or, not much better, putting it all in the bank.  With interest rates what they are, after taxes and inflation, banks are a losing proposition.  Personally, I go for a balanced portfolio of stocks, real estate and secure bonds.  However, this is not an investment seminar, so I will just say don’t bet all your money in Vegas or stuff it in your Serta.  Take wise risks.  No charge for this advice.
My next example is love.  Being a guy, I think it’s more difficult for a guy in the dating world.  Well, at least it was in my day when we rode our dinosaurs on weekend cruises.  Asking a girl out had the risk of refusal or, worse yet, acceptance only because no one else had asked.  I might add that I have a very attractive older sister who used to use guys like a tube of toothpaste (squeeze all you could get out of them, then toss them aside), so I was cautious.   Yet if I had not risked asking the woman who is my wife of forty-one years on a date, my life would have been rather empty.  Paul Simon wrote, “If I never loved, I never would have cried.”  Yet, who wants to be a rock, an island?  The risk of pain is worth the return of love.

 

I could go on, but I am sure everyone reading this understands the concept.  There are many pundits who give advice on the money aspect and columns in the newspaper that give advice on love, yet there is a common thread.  Don’t rush into things, but be willing to take a risk.  To quote the Bard, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” So, when you have a decision to make, even if it requires a bit of risk, remember my motto, “God hates a coward.”

 

A native Californian, R.L. Cherry has a penchant for living in places that inspire him. That has included five years on the Isle of Man in the British Isles and now his residence in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Rush Country. A classic car and hot rod enthusiast, Ron loves to share his his insights and plots. Get to know him at http://www.rlcherry.com/

 

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38 thoughts on “God Hates a Coward by R.L. Cherry

  1. Kenneth Weene

    Every time we pick up pen and start to write, we authors take a risk. If we hold back, we surely fail. If, on the other hand, we rush in, we often fail as well. Prudent risk–yes, that’s the way to go.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      I first wrote Foul Shot over a decade ago. I immediately tried to get an agent, but did not succeed. I stuffed it in a drawer. I still have a copy of it from back when and understand why no agent grabbed it up. Ouch! It is painful to read. I have since completely rewritten it three times and am now satisfied, but my rashness doomed my book’s initial fate. Hopefully, I have become a little better at the craft and a wiser in the interim.

      Reply
  2. Dan O'Brien

    Managing expectations and perceptions is key in every aspect of life. Calculated risks lead to gains. As the saying goes: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

    Reply
  3. Delinda

    Ron, good advice. In all endeavors there is risk but in life we are not dependent on a roll of dice. We possess the ability to reduce our risks through education, training and practice. As a musician, I never trust a performance to luck, I’ve practiced until I reach a point of knowing my return will be acceptable. Yes. Do what you can to prepare then take the risk.

    Reply
  4. Clayton Bye

    The idea that “when opportunity meets preparedness success shall certainly follow” has been around a long time. But translating it to the world of the writer is not as easy as it might seem. One can study grammar and the components of story, yet not come close to writing success. Why? Because these writers just don’t have the experience to draw from when trying to make their stories real for the reader. Worse still is the writer who is not prepared to take the risk to dig below the surface of said experiences, to drag what lies in the dark into sunshine. For it is only then that we have something that might capture the readers attention or imagination. Yes, risk most often carries some kind of reward. The question I tend to ask is: “How much am I willing to pay?”

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      I think the big risk in being a writer is saying, “This is me I’m laying on the line. I’m putting myself out there, ready for praise or punishment.” To me, it’s being very vulnerable. If I, as a writer, do not make the effort of editing my work, do not let others preview it for comments and corrections, and do not listen and consider there words, then I am taking a foolish risk.

      Reply
  5. Monica Brinkman

    Risk is a part of life – each choice we make promotes some type of risk and I felt this article manifested the topic of risk very well. You know R.L., so many people live their entire lives waiting for the proverbial ‘train to come in’, and it will remain at the station unless they decide to take some sort of action. Yes, Risk can be a wonderful part of our lives, if done in moderation.

    Enjoyed your article very much! Great job.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Thanks for the kind words. I’ve know people on both extremes of the Risk spectrum. Some are broke, some muddling along, and a very, very few are doing well. The train never goes anywhere for someone who never gets on board, but might just kill someone jumping on when it’s flying by at a 100 mph. I’ll leave it at that, ’cause if I push this analogy any more, it will get funky!

      Reply
  6. Linda Hales

    The only element that transcends the value of this piece is the superior quality of Ron’s writing. Your message puts our life decisions into perspective. We do take heavy risks at every stage of life and once done, we often don’t rethink those decisions unless they go wrong. I look at risk taking as opportunity to mature and decided long ago, that it is okay to fail so long as I ‘get myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.’ Pardon the cliche but I decided to take a risk on it. When a risk pays off, it is often because we learned from earlier mistakes. It’s all good because it’s all about life. Congratulations on a well written, thought provoking piece Ron.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Thanks. I took a risk in writing it. ;-) It is interesting that now you can take courses in risk management for businesses. One main principle of is “the gain should exceed the pain.”

      Reply
  7. Trish

    A very thought-provoking piece, yet it is really about using one’s common sense. When trying to decide whether to take a risk, always remember sometimes the things that come to those who wait may be the things left behind by those who got there first.

    Reply
  8. R.L. Cherry

    Bloom County’s Binkley said, “Ya know, Voltaire once said that there’s a certain, inevitable futility in indecision.” While no one else seems to have recorded Voltaire saying it, nonetheless, it is a good concept.

    Reply
  9. Jon Magee

    Thanks for your post Ron.

    I have often noted that the best roses have the most thorns on. It is only be risking the thorns that you can grasp the rose and admire the beauty and fragrance at close range. You have so much truth here, and we never fully comprehend faith till we leave our comfort zone and hit the tough moment of life.

    Reply
  10. Martha Love

    Thank you Ron, for this great article. Since the intelligence of gut instincts is a topic I study, I’ve read many articles on whether to follow your gut feeling or calculated logic or both in quick and/or risky decision-making. I have to say that I enjoyed your article most of all because you bring together so many avenues of life decisions in this process, a very eclectic view of the necessity for risk in our lives. How interesting that you have even brought into your ideas old adages and invented scriptures! You must be loads of fun to play Risk with, although quite a formidable opponent!

    Reply
  11. Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” (Wm Shedd) As for me, I like the salt air in my face. I loved the piece, Ron. Also, I did not know you reside spitting distance from Bodie (the title of my next book, which is out in pre-release at Tate Publishing, or my own website.) Have any good Bodie stories for me that I can use on the road? Will you be at Bodie Days on August 10?

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Glad you liked the piece. I can’t quite spit all the way to Bodie. It’s a bit of jaunt for me. I’m up off the 49, north of the 80 in the foothills. Gold Rush country, too, but a lot farther north. Afraid that I can tell a few tales about my area, but not yours.

      Reply
  12. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Ron, what a wonderful insight into the world of risk. By making choices, we all take risk to some extent. The smaller the risk may lead to a bigger reward in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It certainly gives us all something to think about as it applies to our individual and very personal lives.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Hmmm, all I was writing about is playing a board game. Just kidding, of course. Actually, I think how you play a game tells a lot about how you approach life, and I don’t mean just if you are sportsmanlike. I have a scene in Foul Shot where Vince and Gina play several games of chess. Much of their character is revealed by them.

      Reply
  13. Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

    Not long ago I had to come forth with an expression that sums up life which had to be one sentence. It went like this:

    “Life’s a teacher, A mind is the highway, Learning is the reward.” So while these words have echoed in my mind, it has occurred to me that Ron’s great masterpiece gives us an even greater look into this small expression. Hopefully one learns from their life’s experiences so it guides them into a safe journey reaping the benefits of trust, faith, and thought rather than flying by the seat of your pants.

    Thank you Ron for making me ponder just what the meaning of the words I had written in summation of life. A great reminder than one could either over analyze life, live it as it comes or plan for your future.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Thanks, Mamie. There’s a term for Anglicanism as the Via Media, the Middle Way. It means neither extreme is the path, but the way down the center. Neither rash actions nor hesitant procrastination is best. Act, but choose wisely (as the crusader in The Last Crusade advised).

      Reply
  14. Diane Piron-Gelman

    This piece brought to mind something that gets read every year during services at Rosh Hashanah, a piece of the liturgy that I love: “Birth is a beginning/And death is a destination/And life is a journey…” No journey comes without risk, because we can never be completely certain of what lies along our path until we walk it. Risks are a part of the journey, which is an end in itself. What we make of them–whether we take them or don’t and why, how we handle the consequences either way–tells us who we are and (perhaps) leaves a little trace of us here long after we finally shuffle off this mortal coil. (Just had to get in a Shakespeare quote of my own, Ron, as yours was so apropos. :))

    Reply
  15. R.L. Cherry

    How true. Rather than ruing one’s decision, once made, one should try to make the best of it. What’s done cannot be undone (I couldn’t resist another Shakespearean quote, this one from Macbeth). Man (or woman) up and accept responsibility for what you choose to do. Society would be better if that was the norm.

    Reply
  16. Yves Johnson

    Great article. I definitely will have to share it. I liked your balanced approach to this subject. Risk is scary. Fear is worse. An indecision is a decision. I’m glad I’ve taken some risks. Like you, one of the rewards was having a wonderful wife and great kids.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      I have a saying, “Life is choice.” As you wrote, refusing to make a choice is a choice in and of itself. Ecclesiastes says that to everything there is a season. We must recognize what those seasons are.

      Reply
  17. index

    I have been surfing on-line more than 3 hours lately, yet I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It is pretty value enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the internet shall be much more useful than ever before.

    Reply
  18. Micki Peluso

    Excellent analogy, Ron. I have to agree with Ken that prudent risk is the safest way to go for those who feel comfortable ‘playing it safe’. I’m not sure ‘God hates a coward’, since cowardice is another whole aspect of life inflenenced and caused by so many diverse applications that it would require another post. I think the game Risk is good practice for those afraid to fail. I also think the age-old game of Chess teaches life lessons as well. As writers we perhaps ‘risk’ the most because we write from the heart, gut, mind and soul–so failure becomes a personal thing–a painful internal loss. Yet you are right that only in risking can we hope to succeed. Thanks for an enjoyable, thought -provoking post.

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      Glad you enjoyed it. I do believe that games, and how they are played, give insight into the players. He or she who will cheat in order to win a game is very likely to cheat in life to win. Maybe that’s why I do enjoy chess: there is no cheating.

      Reply
  19. Sharla

    Ron, I read your article when posted and thought I had left comments but apparently those thoughts got interrupted. Much wisdom is depicted in your article. We all have dreams; we all have desires. But, are we willing to take the risk necessary to achieve those dreams/desires? There is an overwhelming desire, a passion, to live a dream and the unyielding desire, the tenacity, to see it happen. Once the vision is established it takes a combination of passion and tenacity to keep the momentum going. The passion drives you to put more energy into achieving that vision than ever before, much more than is necessarily required. It goes beyond enthusiasm or excitement requiring commitment of heart, mind, body and soul. Of course, with every accompliment there are setbacks. The tenacity is that persistent detemination, even in the face of adversity, to never give up: Life = Risk

    Reply
    1. R.L. Cherry

      I think it’s interesting that stock brokers ask new clients, “What level of risk are you comfortable with?” Yet buying “safe” muni bonds in San Bernardino, Stockton and Detroit had more risk than the Dow. Choose wisely, but not over cautiously. No risk=no return.

      Reply
  20. atrexl.com

    “God Hates a Coward by R.L. Cherry | The Write Room Blog” was a quite excellent blog, .
    Continue writing and I’m going to continue viewing! Thanks a lot -Alma

    Reply
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