Friday, September 4, 2015

Do We Make Our Own Luck?

     The following short passage comes from Live by Night by Dennis Lehane, a book I'm reading on vacation. Lehane is author of a dozen novels, including Mystic River, all set around the Boston area.

     The time here is the 1920s. The son, Joe, is a small-time crook who has been beaten to within an inch of his life by a couple of gangsters. He's now being transferred to jail from the hospital, and his father comes for a visit . . .

     "People don't fix each other, Joseph. And they never become anything but what they've always been."

     Joe said, "I don't believe that."

     "Don't? Or won't?" His father closed his eyes. "Every breath, son, is luck." He opened his eyes and they were pink in the corners "Achievement? Depends on luck -- to be born in the right place at the right time and be of the right color. To live long enough to be in the right place at the right time to make one's fortune. Yes, yes, hard work and talent make up the difference. They are crucial, and you know I'd never ague different. But the foundation of all lives is luck. Good or bad. Luck is life and life is luck. Don't waste yours. It's leaking from the moment it lands in your hands."

     Joe's jaw clenched, but all he said was, "You make your luck, Dad."

     "Sometimes," his father said. "But other times it makes you."


10 comments:

gigihawaii said...

There's good luck and there's bad luck. I sometimes wonder why I am still alive, considering my past and the risks I took.

Snowbrush said...

I'm a determinist, so I don't believe in anything so whimsical as the word “luck” would imply.

DJan said...

I feel lucky not to have been born in Serbia or Iraq and having the luxury of knowing that I am safe from organized violence. Random? Not so much. But there's where I think it's luck: not being in front of a stray bullet.

Janis said...

Maybe "luck" is the wrong word as it implies some sort of magical, spiritual, or supernatural intervention (which I don't believe in). Maybe "fortune"? I certainly was fortunate to be born where I was, and have the parents and upbringing I had. At some point in our lives, we start to make decisions and have more influence over outcomes.

Either way, thanks for the book recommendation, I'm always looking for something interesting to read.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Luck? I have lots of different thoughts on this and even wrote a blog post on it. Part of me thinks it's what happens when preparation meets opportunity. The other part of me believes it is nothing more than chance. But as the Dali Lama said, “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” Either way I agree with Joe's dad.... our luck does make us either way.

Stephen Hayes said...

In Roman times soldiers fought to be in the legions of generals perceived to be lucky. Julius Caesar was said to be the luckiest.

Olga Hebert said...

Hmmm. Now this is something that deserves some reasoned thought. In my thinking, everything happens for a reason and we invite luck to find us. Recognizing luck is the tricky part, which is my take on the Dali Lama's "stroke of luck' comment, at least in part.

Sunshine said...

I do believe in luck to a small extent but also think we can change our "luck" with positive thinking and taking action to achieve our goals.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

In my experience, what happens to you in this life is the result of both effort and luck. I am from the tail end of Greatest Generation,which lived through both the best of times and the worst of times. Milennials are both people who get up and go and do something with their lives ANAD layabouts who blame everyone else for whatever happens to them. My granddaughter who is working just kicked three people out of her apartment who told her they were hitch-hiking to Oregon where they were going to lead the'homeless' life style. One of them is Hannah's former best friend who has a nursing degree from a four-year university. The other two were boys who claim they are 'Socialists'......

Anonymous said...

I certainly believe in luck, my hubs of 41 plus years the oldest of 8 kids is lucky as the day is long..I feel lucky, no mom died young, tossed here and there until 18 went to be with my blood grandmother my mom's mom and she only lived 3 plus years and died just before I graduated from college..I was lucky to have her for the time I did I learned many valuable lessons from her, we did not have much money but she made lovely breakfasts and lunches and dinners out of what I could not recall but she did, I think her heart beat faster because I came to live with her, I spoiled her rotten and many in my family abandoned her she hated her daughter my aunt who owned the apt. building where we lived, she was cruel but I stood up to her, I worked many jobs and we survived and I went to the college, she was so happy and one day she passed watching the perry mason series she adored, the dinner was already done and I was to graduate, my heart was broken, she told me no matter what to go on in life and have a good life and to know she lived in my heart, mind and soul, which I have..Luck finds those who strive for love and joy and show it to the people they say they care about no matter the circumstances~~~~~~~