Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

When my father-in-law turned ninety, we took him away to celebrate for four days at a beach near his home. That time together was precious. He insisted on catching a wave with us. Ian and I felt it was too risky, but he was adamant, so we gave him the dignity of risk, despite the danger. It was his choice, not ours if he wanted to swim in the ocean at ninety.

Offering the satisfaction of risk is a balancing act, I must say.
Choosing risk gave my father-in-law hope that he could still enjoy certain aspects of life with proper support. Dale hadn’t been able to consider swimming for a long time. His risk resulted in him being knocked over by a wave. He washed up on the beach and could not get to his feet, water rushing over his face. An experienced swimmer in his former years meant he knew how to roll with the tide and not resist. However, it would have been dangerous if we had not been there. Fortunately, we managed to get him up again—and though puffed, he was glowing. Some risks are worth taking, despite the potential danger!

When it comes to danger, we need to be wise. What could happen that could hurt you? My father inlaw’s optimism was risky and required the necessary wisdom to be applied to the situation. Sometimes it is essential to take refuge; staying in a sheltered enclave on the beach with calm waters would have been sensible in hindsight. Silly decisions can have dire consequences. That is why it is crucial to risk assess danger for all concerned. In this case, all’s well that ends well, and the joy of a swim in the surf outways any potential danger.

Until next time,


  1. A great reminder, Leisa, that some risks should be taken, but always with a watchful eye. I’m so glad you were able to do that for him.

  2. Your FIL is like me. There are a few things I would be willing to take a risk on as I’m not usually a risk-taker. If I reached his age, I would want to swim in the ocean as the ocean is my heart place. Thank you for being there for him and letting him do the things he loves. It sounds like you all are balancing things well

  3. I am not a risk taker at all and so have missed out on opportunities throughout my life because I was scared. You’re so right that it is a balancing act…in both ways….too much or too little.

  4. Love that your father in law took the risk and was unharmed by the crashing wave! Isn’t it like that with Jesus. We take risks, and He is there to welcome us to shore when we beach ourselves! I pray you have many more beach trips remembering this story. 90! Amazing! A life well lived. I hope I’ll get in the ocean at that age too! Jennifer, FMF neighbor


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