When we moved my blog over to my website, we left about 200 blogs behind. So it is good to return to the old site and revisit what I have written. This blog about feeling safe was written in November of 2011. It still resonates with me.
We live in an anxiety producing world. There are warnings everywhere.
Cooking turkey yesterday I felt concerned I did it right. Did I thaw it correctly? Cook it right? Even though I’ve cooked many turkeys, it seems to bring up anxieties in me! It reminded me of the disagreements I had with my mom about canning. Years ago I wrote a column for our local paper which included recipes. I read a lot about food safety at that time. And I was seriously concerned about how my mother was not concerned about my new found information. “I’ve been canning this way for years!” she would say defensively, “and no one has died.” I would sigh, very suspicious of her beans. Funny, I think she was less anxious than I.
I’ve been thinking much on our unsettled, anxious driven world as of late. I think election time can do that to us. Who should we vote for? What is the right choice? There have been conversations about our changing climate. Some of the predictions are dire. I believe it is good to be stirred into action, and care for our planet. However, how do I balance that with living peacefully and not being anxious?
In our community there is a lot of conversation around our street population and some people don’t feel safe. They have legitimate concerns! But I’ve also been thinking that those on the streets especially don’t feel safe! It is a complicated issue and I’m glad there are caring people trying to help.
It is no wonder to me that anxiety and depressive disorders are on the rise.
Most of us want to feel safe. I say “most”, because I am always amazed at those thrill-seeker friends who enjoy an adrenaline rush when they put their lives at risk. No bungee jumping for me, thank you. But even those who enjoy a thrill want to come home to a safe warm house with people they love.
So here are my thoughts from eight years ago. It was the first year I started blogging. Interestingly we had our family over for thanksgiving dinner this week, and the two little grandsons I mention in the blog are now ten and eight! I want them to grow up in a world where they feel safe, but the reality is that we live in a broken world. Part of grandparenting is offering a safe and welcoming refuge.
And truly we can be a non-anxious presence in an anxiety producing world if we focus on where our true safety lies.
SAFE (November 2011, edited)
We were having a family dinner the other night, and my little grandson, Little E was happily pushing around his fire truck, complete with great siren sounds he was producing at the same time. About that time, the fire alarm in our house went off, emitting ear-piercing sounds that startled little six-month old R, poor little guy. At first Little E took it in stride, but as the adults paced around trying to turn the fool thing off (very false alarm), both little boys were definitely traumatized.
I picked up little E and snuggled him to me and told him it was fine, there was no real fire. After all we had his fire trucks in case of a real emergency! He clung to me for a while in the safety of grandma, and after the crisis passed, he said “But we’re safe, right Grandma?” “Yes, honey, very safe…” How I love this little boy.
There are countless verses of scripture that speak of safety and how God watches over us. No, there are somethings I don’t understand, and when one is in the midst of suffering, there are no pat easy answers. What I do know that God does not abandon us, although at times He seems mysterious and far away. God with us, which is what Emmanuel means, is a promise I rest in.
God is our safe place and our strength.(Psalm 46:1) This reminds me of the Good Shepherd holding the lamb. It also reminds me of that picture of a mom – a grandma – holding a child. The child might not understand the complexities of life, but can completely, wholly rest in the security of those arms. And in the midst of life, that is a lovely thought to dwell on.
I found a picture of the shepherd on line and drew it, making it my own, adding words and other changes. As I drew it, I became aware that the lamb was awake and squirmy. The shepherd was relaxed. This has spoken to me in a deep way. Can I relax, trusting the Shepherd?
Psalm 91 is the great psalm on the safety of God, and I particularly love this verse: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (vs 4 – NIV). Again it shows the heart of a mother who shields and protects. I picture this bird in the midst of the storm – for it seems there will be storms – and the hiding place of a mother’s breast, safe and secure. It is a trust in something, Someone so much bigger than I, who sees the bigger picture. I can rest in that, perfectly safe.