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‘Just By Being Here All Our Numbers Came Up’

Good Morning. The chances are you’ll play it tonight – or someone in your family will.

The National Lottery – some 70% of us play regularly.

Sissy, 84, is the oldest member in our church syndicate.

The Church has never been a fan of the Lottery but Sissy is… she’s so sure our numbers will come up, that when Renee died, she took on her ticket too.

Some people drop out – their belief falters – but new people join.

The good thing about a church is there’s so much faith to call on.

We have twenty lines of six numbers but Sissy, who studies the lines religiously, is convinced we have a problem.

After a Sunday service she’ll tell me we have too many numbers in the thirties – we need more in the twenties & forties. But we can’t add new numbers without dropping others and we can’t do that because, well, what if they came up ?

How would we live with ourselves?

Over time, we’ve won £4,000. Mind you, our total layout is 20,000… so we’re down a bit.

I tell people it’s a long term investment. Risky yes, but not foolish, like, say, a pension.

You’ve got to be in it to win it. It could be us.

You can’t prove luck exists but we often behave as if it does. Good luck – we say – as if it will make some kind of difference.

Bad luck – we commiserate – as if some unseen force explains why your horse fell at the last or your partner walked out on you.

The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 14million – why do we think it could be us? Maybe because the odds of just being alive on this good earth in this strange universe are so much longer.

Someone calculated the odds of any of us being born at

one in ten… followed by two and three quarter million zeroes.

Or to put it another way: the odds of being alive are so far-fetched that winning the lottery seems quite plausible.

Just by being here all our numbers came up.

We’re luckier still. We can send our children to school, call on the NHS when we’re sick, vote out politicians we don’t like.

Most of this good fortune was made by people who came before us, people who got lucky with their own health or education and decided to share their winnings by working for the rights that we take for granted.

‘Time and chance happeneth to them all,’ says the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes.

Faith and fate, divinity and destiny are not always comfortable in each other’s company – religions find luck hard to explain and may be wise to remain agnostic on that.

While Sissy and I disagree on whether switching our numbers will improve our jackpot chances we both know that we lucked out just by being alive… right here, right now.