“I don’t believe in luck,” he says, carefully navigating the cracks in the street. “Don’t you think God is in control?”
We are on the evening walk, down by the creek. The Black Willow tree is shedding the loveliest white fluffy dander. I am catching their feathery lightness in the palm of my hand and wondering why I’ve never noticed this before. I tell the boys that willow trees are dioecious—they produce male or female catkins on separate trees. Willow seeds are from fruits found only on the female trees.
“So this tree is a girl!” I tell them. And I say that if they catch one of these elusive seeds they get to make a wish. One lands in my palm and I close my eyes for wishing before I blow it to the wind. That’s when my 16 finds a four-leaf clover. He tucks it into my hair, behind my ear.
“Thanks,” I say. “I can use a little luck.”
But the youngest doesn’t believe in luck. And his question is a door that opens our lighthearted conversation into a spacious place.
“Definitely. God isin control, for sure,” I say. “But…I think I might believe in luck. Because good things happen to bad people. And bad things happen to good. We live in a broken world, and sometimes…life is unfair. I believe that God uses everything. But I don’t know if he controls it all. There is this thing called free will…”
I think about common grace and how I understand it, but I decide to tell them a story instead.
“Did you hear the story about the luckiest village in the world?”
They shake their heads and we keep walking. Lucy Mae strains at her leash, trying to get to a family of ducks.
“It happened in 2011—this little farming village in Spain, called Sodeto, won this huge lottery.”
“The whole village won?”
“It’s a huge lottery, worth millions, and the entire village went together and bought a bunch of tickets. All but one guy. And they won.”
“Oh, that one guy must have been bummed.”
“I think he was at first. But then, all the townspeople settled into being rich. They bought new cars, new houses, big-screen TVs. They stopped talking to each other because no one wanted other people to know how much money they had. They stopped sharing, they stopped working. And this guy, he started to make a movie about what was happening in his village. And something funny happened. He found a passion. He found a joy. The others floundered…they lost their purpose in life. In the end, the one guy, he turned out to be the happiest. So who do you think was the luckiest?”
They look at their feet as we walk, absorbing the story.
“I suppose the happy guy,” my youngest says.
“I wonder if that was God? Do you see how he can turn things around? Make something unexpected and beautiful where our eyes might see unlucky?”
His face splits into a grin.
“So, if you win the lottery, you’d better give the money to me, right? So all that money won’t make you unhappy. Right?”
I shove him playfully and both of my boys titter. We walk in a cloud of willow tree seeds and I think how the best wishes are the ones God makes for us—the ones we never even imagined.
And I know I am the luckiest girl in the world.