I have been hunting and pecking for an hour. I have a thread in my head I want to tug at for a blog post but that thread is a wadded up mess and there is no way I am going to untangle it and get a coherent post tonight. Shit, I saved the draft and it may never make it to the public sphere.
Bottom line: where do you feel safe? Does safety reside in a structure? You feel safe at home. If you’ve traveled abroad, you feel safe upon entering our air space. Soldiers kiss the ground when they disembark a ship or come off a plane. We feel safe with a nightlight or a GPS. Somehow a quarter tucked inside my sneaker as a child kept me safe and allowed me to call home on a payphone if necessary.
Sometimes, safety is a person. A child feels safe in their mother’s arms (or father’s). In a storm, we huddle in a closet and keep each other safe. When we are ill, someone sits bedside and watches mind numbing daytime television, occasionally giving an answer for the “Survey Says” questions.
But what happens when all those places that once felt safe or served as your go to safety zone no longer existed? A hurricane blows away your house. A divorce dismantles your family. A death steals the arms that once held you. In my childhood, the yards had no fences. You could call out the back door or call on the phone, and a neighbor lady came over to help. Then people started building houses where you pulled into a garage and shut the door. You never saw your neighbors. Now they don’t get a paper or mail, so they never come outside. There is a fence around the perimeter of their property and god only knows if they have kids or pets.
The people with whom you feel safe are more often far, far away. And that works just fine until you need a hug or someone to sit and hold your hand. Phone calls and emails offer WORDS and solutions: fixes. But presence…..real, tangible, physical presence…..means that when you fall apart crying there are arms that hold you. And when you sit waiting for the test results to come back, they sit beside you whispering caddy remarks about the other people in the waiting room. Or when you vanish off the radar, they come over to your house because they know you’ve crawled into your closet with pillows, the cats and a box of Kleenex. They grab and extra pillow and join you in the closet. Safety is sometimes generated by having those special kind of people in your world. Otherwise, the world is a very unsafe and scary place.