Archives For risk

In a world of real loss, this post may seem insensitive but stay with me.

On one of my favorite shows on television, The Walking Dead, one of the main characters is killed. His name was Hershel Greene and served as a patriarch to the group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Over the past few seasons we have gotten to know him better and his wisdom became clearer with his smooth Georgia accent. Hershel seemed to be a devoted husband before losing his wife during the apocalypse. He was also a father of two girls and tried to be as good of a father as possible despite the circumstances of the world falling apart. His clothes were tattered, wore suspenders and throughout the story his beard grew longer and more scraggly. When he died, it was as if we lost a lion. I was stunned by his loss and for the next few days I’ll admit, I kind of grieved. I thought I was ridiculous to grieve for a person I didn’t know let alone even exist. Then I realized that the reason I grieved was because I connected so deeply with the idea of Hershel.

Hershel was a walking and talking, wise Proverb. Hershel was a central voice of reason through the past few seasons of the show and felt almost like another father for the viewer. He sure was to me. He was far from perfect and full of rich humility acknowledging publicly when he was wrong. In the group’s darkest days, Hershel’s words would provide comfort and guidance to everyone.

You walk outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. Nowadays you breath and you risk your life. You don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for.


I loved Hershel because he was such a genuine character, made for a great book and for a great show. Legendary teacher of story through film, Robert McKee shares in his book Story

“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.”

Hershel was character. I will miss Hershel but I am also reminded that to love a character you must risk losing him or her. Losing Hershel also shows us that sacrifice is important. We run toward a safe life yet our heart screams out for real adventure. Characters like Hershel remind me that we have a short time on earth and life is worth risking.

To risk is to live. 

Hershel carried a beautiful worn leather Bible with him throughout the show. I think if he were sitting next to us today he would share where he derives his wisdom. He would share something like this.

Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure. – Proverbs 4:25-26

Who is your favorite fictional character? Why? 

Recently driving I heard the radio tagline for a Christian station that said “Safe for the whole family.” Sounds nice, eh? Seems reassuring, right? It’s as if Walt Disney was speaking directly to me and it felt really soft like a cashmere sweater in the fall. I am a marketer so I can appreciate someone trying to create “emotion” and “security” to bring me in and feel good about my choice. In this case, I was listening to a radio station.

I am quite cognizant of what I expose my girls to when it comes to culture, especially music. What parent doesn’t want his or her children to be safe and live as pure of a life as possible? On earth we are realists too and recognize there is only so much we can control when it comes to exposure. The moments our children step away from us, the more the world becomes their experience, not our experience. But they watch my wife and I carefully.

I live in a suburban area full of safe activities but most of it is about staying in a box. This box is full of safe things to do. Drive a safe car. Secure the right job. Protect your kids at school. Do your homework. Check off the list as it goes on and on. I think Satan ultimately wants us as Christians to stay in this safety box. I fall for it constantly and think that this is purely the good life and what is wrong with that?

Life can easily become a “safety dance” because we love to justify our security and dance around what is behind it.

God wants something different from us.

He wants to unleash us in a way that he unleashed his son for us. 

John 14:6 Jesus made it pretty clear about the path. And it ain’t easy.

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


If we are truly going to take this call seriously we must step out of this box, dance differently and do work that takes us into the wild. I’m learning that it doesn’t mean you have to quit doing all of those things I mention above. They are good things and I believe God blesses them as long as we don’t worship them and hide behind them.

My modern-day fictional suburban hero, Lloyd Dobler, said in the movie Say Anything,

I’m looking for a dare to be great situation.

Let’s take Lloyd Dobler’s advice. Let’s get dangerous and seek God’s greatness. Let’s seek greatness in the way Jesus truly calls us.

May you have the passion and bravado of Ernest Hemingway and the faith and sensibility of C.S. Lewis in your journey to dance freely.


What dreams are you holding back on because it feels risky or perhaps dangerous? 

I am looking for a dare to be great situation.

These are the words from the immortal everyday hero, Lloyd Dobler in the movie Say Anything (1989).  It was the first movie I saw that was written and directed by Cameron Crowe.  Crowe gave us other amazing lines in his movies like “You complete me”, “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen”, and “I’m never as good as when you’re there.”  I always liked Lloyd because he was the everyman, someone I could relate to on film.  His words, especially this line always sticks with me and I kind of wear it around my shoulder.


We all want to be the “idea” of Lloyd and act out our mission in life.  There are situations when we want our actions to be great but let’s admit it, we’re afraid.   That’s okay because if you aren’t afraid, it won’t be as great.  We want our actions to be honorable.  We want them to be dangerous (in a good way).  We want our actions to matter and be memorable.  It doesn’t matter if it is January or the end of a long year.  When you see that opportunity like Lloyd, act.  If it is a girl you’ve always been intimated by, go for it.  If it is that idea you’re afraid to introduce at work, go for it.  Look around you because your friends and family are cheering for you.

I love tackling a challenge that seems insurmountable at the time but after you get through it, you look back and say, “Wow, that just happened.” We want our stories to live beyond us.  30 years from now you will remember these feats, I promise you.


What is your dare to be great situation you are facing?  What are your waiting for? 


PS  I read that Kirk Cameron was almost cast to play Lloyd.  That was right after Robert Downey, Jr. turned the part down. Thank God for providing John Cusack.  Oh how that would have been a game changer…