I was reading a book of Hugh Nibley’s once and I came across something I thought was interesting. I’ve since forgotten what it was that caught my interest, but I do remember reading something to this effect: men shouldn’t play games of chance because chance doesn’t exist. After thinking about this for a minute, I got past this idea that “men can’t play games of chance if chance doesn’t exist!” and moved on to the implications of what he was saying: if chance doesn’t exist, then flipping a coin to determine who gets home field before a softball game isn’t chance or luck. What if I had a say in whether the coin landed heads or tails?
So I did an experiment: each time I called a coin toss (I play a lot of softball and frequently call coin tosses), I would call it then visualize the coin landing as I had called it, or, I would let the other team captain call it and I would visualize the coin landing opposite what they called. I had a streak of about 11 coin tosses going until I finally lost one.
Now, the naysayers among you will cry, “Lucky streak!” But I’m going to differ with you on this point (though I won’t beg). After all, doesn’t it say, in D&C 59:21, that we offend God if we don’t acknowledge his hand in all things? Why should we fail to acknowledge his hand in a coin toss?
Home field aside, I think Nibley has a point. So I’ve decided to try another experiment (one a little less self-gratifying): I’ve tried to eliminate the words “good luck” from my daily parlance. It has been a difficult thing to do, but I’ve met the challenge with moderate success. Now, instead of wishing people “good luck,” I usually say something like “Godspeed.” I must admit, it comes out awkward in a lot of circumstance: “I’m going to go take my final exam.” “Godspeed.” Sometimes I feel like William Wallace (or at least, Mel Gibson’s version of Wallace). But in the end, I thought it was important enough to say that any “fortune” or what we call “luck” that comes our way comes from God and I wanted my language to reflect that.
But really, what difference do the subtleties of our language make?