To start, let’s have a basic lesson in risk and investing. Keeping it simple – when you make an investment, the rate of return is usually based on a mathematical formula with a key factor being calculated risk. Why invest? Because we seek some sort of gain or growth on what we put in. You start a business to make money, you buy stocks to be paid dividends, etc. etc. You give something with the expectation that you will receive more in return.
But what is risk? A buzzword that catches our ear? A wildly popular boardgame? After four years study in college and three years in the risk management industry, I can sum it up in one sentence: Risk is defined as the potential to lose something of value. It can be anything! Your money, health, a tire on your vehicle, your friendships – every decision you make involves risk, whether big or small. Gain or loss is a constant reality.
For something to be “risked” it must be exposed. It must be put in a position to be lost, hurt, or broken.
We have all experienced pain or brokenness. We have all experienced a loss in some way because we risked something of ourselves and felt injured. Hoped for gain, and seen those hopes fall flat.
I’ve only been in two relationships in my life. In different ways these were very blessed and also very painful experiences. By giving of myself I was able to experience gain and loss from my time with both these women. But as any psychologist will tell you, the more influential factor on our memory will always be pain.
Risk manager that I am, the beta factor for my relationship formula indicated unfavorable outcomes when I thought about dating. After my past experiences, it always seemed like risking too much. The potential for loss and pain was too high. For several years I intentionally chose not to “open up” to women for fear of loss.
Then one day it all changed. I met a short, joyful, beautiful, random woman, and for the first time in years the risk didn’t matter.
Pope Saint John Paul II said “holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom.” Mulieris Dignitatem p. 27. Paraphrasing – holiness is determined by how much of ourselves we are willing to expose in response to opportunity presented.
However, exposing ourselves requires sacred trust as our Pope Saint writes:
“The woman has ‘from the beginning’ been entrusted to his eyes, to his consciousness, to his sensibility, to his ‘heart’; he, by contrast, must in some way ensure the very process of the exchange of the gift, the reciprocal interpenetration of giving and receiving the gift, which, precisely through its reciprocity, creates an authentic communion of persons.” TOB 17:6 (see TOB 30:1 for the inverse and how absolute trust is now replaced with shame, our fear of exposure – our experience as historical man).
Who risked it all and exposed himself (literally) to the world? Christ. Who gave everything to obtain the treasure (- and you are the treasure) in the field? Christ. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it” Matthew 10:39.
Fear not. In the potential for loss and pain is also the potential for great gain, joy, and love. We see this in the great investment of our dear Savior giving His all. He has already spent himself, and His gain or loss is determined by our response to his gift. Our willingness to expose ourselves to His love.
That one girl is still short, joyful, beautiful & random. We didn’t gain romance, but a dear friendship that has helped me to open my heart again. Relationships are risky business. So next time you find yourself in a risky situation and fear paralyzes you from taking a good risk, always keep in mind that you can’t gain if you aren’t willing to lose. (In scandalous diction) – be ready to expose yourself when the right risk comes along.
COLBY ALLEN resides in Lafayette, LA where his day job is administration and data reports. He also travels to facilitate events for youth and young adults. He can sometimes be found sipping whiskey after stealing his neighbor’s hammock to watch the sunset. Traveling, risks, competitive bowling, and writing are just a few of his favorite things. He is currently pursuing Certification with the Institute.