Paul Kelly was my first football coach. Since he was a bit overweight with a stomach that would make a Sumo wrestler proud, we called him “Jelly Belly Kelly,” behind his back. Nevertheless, when it came to coaching football, he not only knew the game; he knew how to develop people. Of course, like any coach, he had a list of truisms he spouted regularly which we came to know by heart. One saying he particularly liked was ““Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

I thought this was wisdom for the ages and as it turned out it was. Although attributed to Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger, it seems no one is quite sure who said it and for this writing it is not important. However, the thought behind it is, especially seeing how many Christians use it, but never pick up the irony associated with their benevolent and omnipotent God.

Perhaps, no one notices that it is easier to get a job if the applicant is educated. It also seems much easier to recover from illness after following the doctors orders. Does anyone notice that good luck follows those prepared for almost any eventuality? I noticed that those that fall into deep water and don't know how to swim usually drown while those knowing how to swim have a much higher survival rate.

Through observation I've noticed those receiving recommended vaccinations are healthier than those that don't. Likewise, those with intelligence consistently do better than those without it. In fact, in any of life's endeavors those prepared in worldly custom, knowledge and procedure always fare better than those who are not.

Measurement of those that wish and hope for particular outcomes shows that those that make preparations, whether it is education, training or practice, surpass those that don't by gigantic proportions. Even among the religious, those relying on prayer and divine intervention have a losing streak that extends millennia and is destined to continue as long as the invisible and nonexistent remain equal.

I can still hear "Jelly Belly's" harsh call as he egged us on telling us tthat despite our intentions or wishes, we still had to play the game against real opponents who hoped we had wishful thoughts, but little preparation. Relying on luck alone is much like wishing or praying--99% will end with disappointment. Luck requires work. The more you work--the better your luck. Go figure.

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on July 28, 2012 at 5:49am
Giving God credit for the all the good things that happen in our lives is a clear case of misassignment, especially when he or she receives no blame for the bad. Someone called Satan receives that call. Of course, no speaks of the problem such a being's existence causes for religionist because into question God's intentions as well as abilities. Is Satan free to torture and abuse God's people? If so, why? Or, is it because God has no power over Satan? If God has no power over Satan, then the devil is at least as powerful as God making Satan a God in his own right. Again, then more than one God exists. If this God could stop Satan, but doesn't, then at the very least she isn't benevolent. Read properly, the story of Lot is a piece of a political polemic, which a majority of readers don't understand. However, for the literalist it should be a story of consumate evil displayed by an all-loving God. Back to luck and hard work; my entire point is simple---God is not even as consistent as a weatherman. Anyone expecting divine intervention in many ways open themselves to misfortune.
Comment by Steph S. on July 28, 2012 at 1:19am
I want to be lucky too. Good story - enjoyed reading that.

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