The Benefit Outweighs the Risks

I woke up to news that my high school wrestling nemesis Ty Freel died in a drowning accident. I was stunned. A little shaken. A few months ago, we had reconnected over facebook messenger sharing a few personal regrets with each other about our past. He even apologized for being a jerk when we were younger and he sent me a couple of his wrestling pics for my blog when I asked.

Though we had our differences as kids, I certainly held nothing against him as an adult and loved featuring him on my blog. I was thankful he provided a couple of pics and I was looking forward to hearing what he thought of my book, particularly the chapters about high school wrestling. I never heard back.

A few weeks back, while on our family vacation in southern Utah, I received news that a good friend of mine, Denny Marstella passed, as well. He was only about ten years older than I, but had not been in the best health in recent years. While I had lost many people over the years, moving from one location to another, Denny was my first personal friend that lived near me that passed away.

Denny and I always had great conversations. We loved to talk theology and church. No matter what frustrations we held, we both grasped on to God and appreciated how meaningful He was in our lives. We both talked about the ways that God was using us or wanted to use us. He was always a great listener and was very gracious about understanding what a person was going through. 

Earlier this summer, I had plans for a book club this summer. I reached out to folks on facebook without much response. Denny was the only one who responded and since that was the case and it wasn’t going to be a group thing, I never followed up. We started our summer travels and I forgot about it. 

Since I have moved on so many times in my life, I have developed a survival mode to deal. It is not intentional, it is simply the way that I have learned to survive. Out of sight, out of mind. Also, since we were in the middle of a long vacation that was paid for, I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. It’s almost like it didn’t happen. Except it did and it saddens me as I realize it.

I will miss my buddy, Denny. He was a great dude. And I really appreciated our friendship and conversations. I can’t wait to see him again some day. Tell Jesus “hi” for me, Denny!

Life is short and it will be over before we know it. It is time to start living. 

Tell someone today that you love them. 

Reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to. 

Follow through on that good intention.

It’s time to start living your dream and it’s never too early or too late.

Don’t let fear or anxiety hold you back. 

I read recently that the COVID vaccine was given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA because the benefits outweighed the risk. Vaccines typically take years, even decades to develop and get approval. Yet, the COVID vaccine was quickened for obvious public health reasons. But, the EUA was granted because the benefit outweighed the risks. 

The same is true for our dreams. Sometimes fear holds us back. The unknown prevents us from taking a step forward. But, I want to encourage you today. No one knows what tomorrow holds.

The benefit of your dream outweighs the risks.

Go for it.

Photo by Brett Jordan on

Published by Shawn D. Congleton

traveler, writer, lover of God, thinker, family dude, in no particular order

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