“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.


  1. Caryn Jenkins Christensen says

    Awww…this is so sweet! I’ll just bet you ARE the luckiest girl in the world!

  2. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    I hope I will have the presence to enter into those deep and spacious conversations with the grace you do, Laura, when my boys are older. I’ve never found a four leaf clover, but a friend of mine, who was attending a year-long retreat program with me, found enough for every participant in the program this past spring – all in one location. I wonder if luck isn’t the world’s way of talking about grace?

  3. says

    Oh! This is wonderful, Laura. I couldn’t help but smile @ “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 want to trust the God Who is actually my best wish, who is all the willow tree seeds and clover leafs, for He is the One we must lean on no matter what the circumstances. Rather than “luck, I guess I choose to call those circumstances “blessings” whether they are great or seemingly not-so-great, for He makes them good, just right for us. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  4. Monica Sharman says

    But I think I like this part even more: “the best wishes are the ones God makes for us.”

  5. says

    Yeah, I keep thinking how much we don’t know and how God holds all the lucky cards :). Imagine how lucky those first Titanic boarders felt when they first stepped on that boat? I want my boys to know that…well, that God is in control. But sometimes they need to make their own luck. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? I’ll stop while I’m behind 🙂

  6. says

    These are the best moments. I don’t know what I’ll do when my boys leave me and I’m left to walk alone. I guess the One Companion will always be enough.

  7. says

    I wonder, Kelly. And won’t we see luck differently when we look back on things one day? I love when God gives me a glimpse of kairos right where I am. I think you’ll have some very spacious conversations of your own with those rough-and-tumblers one day 🙂

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  9. pastordt says

    Ah, dear Laura. Having read this blog for nearly three years now, I cannot even begin to tell you how sweet it is to savor this story of good connection between you and your boys. It has not always been so, has it? But somehow, now seems to be a rich season of conversation and openness and affection. I love it when that happens!! God is good, life is good. (Even when it’s hard, it’s still good, somehow.) Thank you for this loveliness.

  10. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    This story reminds me so much of my own life! When I was healthy and running around trying to win everyone’s favor and approval, including our Pappa God’s, I was so very unhappy! But when our Pappa clipped my wings and taught me how to live in Him through His grace alone, I have found a peace and joy that I sorely missed before! Now my restless heart has stopped running and I see the Presence of our God burning in all the bushes around me, even in the desert times!
    Blessings and love

  11. Anonymous says

    В середине сентября случилось страшное. Погиб ребенок, погиб страшной мучительной смертью страдая от голода, холода и ужаса около умершей тети.

    Можно винить родителей, ДА они виноваты, но они виноваты ДО ТОГО КАК РЕБЕНОК ПОТЕРЯЛСЯ. Кто же виноват после?

    Пятилетняя Лиза Фомкина и ее страдающая слабоумием, такой же, по сути ребенок, тетя-инвалид были жестоко и цинично убиты. Да, я не ошибся, они были УБИТЫ, убиты сотрудниками МЧС, удалившимися со своим никчемным и ошибочным, как оказалось, мнением, что девочка уже погибла (а это произошло до момента ее гибели), убиты представителями МВД, не сразу принявшими НЕОТЛОЖНЫЕ меры, да и потом участвовавшие в поисках скорее для галочки.

    Сколько стоит одна человеческая жизнь? Сколько стоит одна жизнь одного ребенка? В войну солдаты бросались под танки за жизнь своих и чужих женщин и детей, ЧТО ЖЕ МЕШАЛО поднять министру обороны войска данного региона и направить их на поиски ребенка, умершего жестокой смертью от голода и холода в центре РОССИИ?! В нескольких километрах от Москвы с ее храмами и помпезностью высоток?

    У меня есть вопросы, и хотелось бы на них услышать ответ.

    Вопрос к министру обороны Сердюкову Анатолию Эдуардовичу.

    Анатолий Эдуардович! Что помешало если не ВАМ, то Вашим региональным подчиненным поднять на поиски расположенные в районе войска СРАЗУ, как только они узнали о пропаже ребенка? Неинформированность? Нежелание помочь? Безразличие? Или Элементарное отсутствие мозгов, мешающее принять правильное человеческое решение? По- моему, при любом из этих ответов эти люди НЕДОСТОЙНЫ занимаемых постов! А другие варианты ответов уместны ли?

    Вопрос к министру МВД Нургалиеву Рашиду Гумаровичу тот же самый. Почему никто не послал на поиски одну- другую сотню из тысяч сотрудников ДПС, часть из которых ежедневно занимаются своеобразным разбоем на дорогах, который вы сами признали? Вы хотите начать “новую жизнь” МВД, переименовав “МИЛИЦИЮ” в “ПОЛИЦИЮ”? Что же, хорошо начинает доблестная! ЭТО ПОЗОР!!!!

    Что же касается МЧС..

    Сотрудники МЧС искали, но КАК они это делали, могут рассказать вам добровольцы.. Вопрос к начальнику МЧС Шойгу Сергею Кужугетовичу

    Вам не стыдно за своих подчиненных? Учитывая ваши заслуги перед отечеством не хочется вас обвинять, вы действительно достойнейший Человек, но задумайтесь, во что превращается организация, которую вы в самые тяжелые годы кровью и потом выстраивали с нуля.

    МО, МВД, МЧС..

    А Москвичи… Много ли людей вышло в этот лес искать ребенка из многомиллионного города… Кто не смог бы- к вам нет вопроса, но те, кто мог? Расскажите потом своим детям, что могли, но остались равнодушны…

    Господа, я бы на ВАШЕМ месте пошел и встал на колени перед могилой погибшей Лизочки Фомкиной.

    пс: низкий поклон тому малому количеству людей в форме, кто искал в силу всех своих возможностей и низкий поклон добровольцам, которые в отличие от вышеупомянутых организаций, и НАШЛИ ребенка. К сожалению, уже мертвого..

    (скопируй и разошли)

    памяти маленькой Лизочки Фомкиной.

    В Беслане мы потеряли сотни детей, но там пришли бандиты.

    В Подосковье мы потеряли одного ребенка, и тут некоторые из нас стали бандитами.

    Жизнь одного ребенка так же бесценна как жизнь сотен.. Вечная память.

    23 СЕНТЯБРЯ- Народный День Памяти Лизочки Фомкиной и позора чинуш.
    [url=][color=#E4F4FE]лазерная коррекция зрения[/color][/url]

  12. says

    Thanks for this. Yes, we went through a difficult season–I’m sure it won’t be the last. This is my favorite thing–walking and talking with my boys. Just being together. Lately I’ve been feeling the pressing of time passing quickly. Wanting to savor moments like these.

  13. says

    I wonder if this is the story of us all? We think we know what will make us happy but there is One who truly knows. I’m glad you are in this place of peace and joy, Mia. That is a precious gift.

  14. Nancy Sturm says

    Oh, how wonderful that we have such “luck”! I love the narrative of the walk and how you turned it into a lesson for your children and your readers. Thanks!

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