Monday, May 25, 2009

The risk of taking no risk!

I am not unfamiliar with taking risks. And I thank God for giving me the ability and willingness to take risks and have no or little fear. Sometimes it took me awhile to make the decision and get out of my comfort zone. The reward wasn't always immediate. And many times the road less traveled was long and hard, and felt like it was a dead-end. But I have no regrets.
I've seen people who didn't take risks, and may be they avoided much of the trouble that I faced, but their lives remained the exact same for long years; as well as people who ended up having more trouble because they didn't take the risk of change. My hardships gave me experience, strength, and independence, and they were a good test. Many times I felt that I failed, but I am glad I never saw myself panic, even at times when, for example, I had enough money only for a few days ahead, with no income, and no familiar face anywhere close by. I always knew that God will bring about a solution, even if at the last minute, and He always did! I considered my time with no money and no source of income as a forced vacation! Free time that I wouldn't have dared to give to myself if I still had the job. Don't take me wrong, I never got fired from any job, but it's a long story!

I can't see the ability to take risks without faith in God. God doesn't want us to be stupid, but he doesn't want us to be cowards neither! He put us on Earth and He alone prescribed a time for our leaving, so death shouldn't be an issue. And, as the prophet Muhammad once put it, God feeds us the way He feeds birds, they leave their nests with empty stomach, and return to it, at the end of the day, with their stomach full. Our share of money, health, and everything else is all planned up there. One Muslim sufi said it so beautifully, so many centuries ago: don't preoccupy yourself with what is created and guaranteed for you, rather preoccupy yourself with what you were created for! Meaning: don't worry. God created you to work and earn good money that involves no harm and no deception, and He created the outcome for you. No worries. But He also created you to be righteous, to change things for the better, to try to fix injustice when you see it happen, you're created for those tasks that a real human is worthy of undertaking! Don't then forget what you're created to do for mere food, money and safety. Your food and money are all created for you already, and they will come. Remember, you don't really make the money. You could be stuck right at this moment with millions of people who don't have enough food for the day, don't have a roof over their head, and live in places that have no paved roads, no electricity, etc. Be one of them and show me how you'll make the money, brilliant!

Even when I took the risk of leaving religion and my native faith to be more true to myself, God was still there, because I was certain that if He existed, then He supports me in trying to be more honest. He is The True (one of the 99 beautiful names of God) and He supports all our efforts on the path of truth, even if, on the surface, we seem to be straying away from Him.

Risk was the only way anything changed. Major changes in world history all involved major risks, taken by brave people. Risk is also optimistic. I know it. I might seem to be depressed for long times, but guess what, if deep within I wasn't a true optimist, I would never have taken any risk. We take risks because there is a picture in our heart of how things should be, and our optimism that it can happen is the only reason we do those seemingly stupid actions. Once I was so tired of the place I lived in and I decided to move out. I had a car with an engine that smoked heavily every time I drove it. No one believed that it could go a hundred miles away. I drove it from upstate NY to Washington DC, and from there to southwestern Florida. I embarked on this trip with enough money to get me to my destination, with no room for anything unexpected, including any kind of car trouble! Even though I always give advice to my friends to give room for the unexpected in their financial planning, I didn't feel stupid, I just had a strong feeling in my heart that God would not put me into trouble that is beyond my ability to handle. Only in Florida did the brakes completely disappear, but I had reached my destination and I could deal with this trouble safely! Had I stayed, I would have been more safe, but my life would have stayed the same. The story of my risks is a long story, and I might share more of it some day.

I always wanted to change the world, and felt that it was possible. My seemingly fruitless risks were a necessary exercise. No athlete wins the Olympics with no training!

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