A few weeks ago, I wrote in my Facebook status something like:
“I’d really like to know for sure … that I am safe.”
It was a gut thought that I quickly typed and posted.
It took me about twenty minutes
to delete the update.
I *low, deep voice* HATE vague status updates.
Like the person who walks through the grocery store talking to himself;
nobody knows what he’s talking about.
Both habits make you look crazy
and are fairly useless towards good communication.
In my heart of hearts, I think I was hoping to open up a conversation about the topic of safety, but that was the wrong way to go about it. None-the-less, a close friend immediately wrote me to probe the statement, which was good. I had a chance to begin to sift my ideas on the subject.
As I began to share, I came to realize that
during most of my adult life
I haven’t felt like my heart was safe.
When I was a little girl, I always knew that my family was safe. I knew that my daddy would stop the robber, put out the fire, kill the snake … save the day. I never doubted; if someone were to try to hurt me, my daddy would hurt them back. He would stop them. He would protect me.
I have a vivid memory of walking down a not-so-wide street as a younger adult,
when the man who I was with took my arm and pulled me to his opposite side
so that I would not be walking b.e.s.i.d.e the traffic.
He put himself between me and the oncoming traffic.
I can’t even remember WHO he was, where we were or where we were going …
I remember the feeling … of being protected.
It was … comforting.
More importantly, I remember how that small, simple action …
that gentle shifting of position stirred up thoughts that I had not had prior to that moment.
The action made raw … it exposed a place that I did not know existed.
It made me fully aware of how unprotected I had felt for years.
Through the years, I remember male heroes.
– I remember one dark night in college as a few friends and I watched Jack Moore tear across the college campus after some bad guy. I do not remember the situation, all I remember is being astounded that he was so brave to protect. He was strong. He was fast. And I knew that his girlfriend m.u.s.t feel safe and protected … as I would expect that his family does today.
– I remember when we lived around the corner from my friend, Karen. James was almost two. He filled my days with activity, Glory filled my rotund pregnant belly and my spouse was gone overseas. My vivid imagination would dream up noises downstairs in that large, antique home that we barely filled. Within what felt like SECONDS after a phone call, Karen’s husband, G-man, would show up on my doorstep. He was in law enforcement and he was there before the phone would cool in the cradle. With a gun in hand and disheveled hair, I would feel almost silly for having called him over in the middle of the night. But, he never made me feel ashamed. He always said, “Call me anytime.” And he came.
Being alone now, I’ve been thinking about protection
and wanting to feel safe.
I think this contemplation has been intensified by my camping alone.
On my camping trip to Helen, I took the advice of new friends and a random park ranger. I set out on my own to hike to Dukes Creeks Falls and was assured that this series of falls was worth the hike.
I set out on long wooden pathways that meandered down to the main trail. As I stepped down onto the dirt and gravel path, I was forced to make a decision. The sign had been removed that pointed the direction to the falls. The lefthand direction offered a slightly wider path, while the right was more narrow. But, the sound of the fall sounded like it was coming from the right. I turned left. Logic led me to deduce that the directional sign that was posted through the decades would have sent people on the path that was wider … traveling towards the fall. This was my deciding factor.
I was surprised at how empty I found the trail. I had two bottles of water, a granola bar, a whistle and a cell phone as items for sustenance and protection. Fifteen minutes of hiking rolled into thirty. I was alone. I wasn’t sure if the thought of rounding a bend to scare an unsuspecting wild animal (having just met a bear the night before) was more frightening than meeting a lone, male hiker or the other way around.
I hiked forty-five minutes to an hour before I saw another living soul. I was so relieved to know
I had, in fact, made the right decision
there at the start of the trail.
But, the thought of protection was in the forefront of my mind.
And yet, I yearn for something
that I now wonder
if I am even be eligible, available, allowed to possess: a safe relationship.
I’ve stated before that I do not believe that I am eligible to remarry by Biblical ideals.
What is ideal about life? Or me? Or my marriage?
Just before a beautiful acoustic strum,
Alison Krauss lilts the lyrics
“all the answers that I started with
turned out questions in the end”
in the song Gravity.
And my friend’s words come back to me:
““BTW, did I mention I’m really questioning if I know what love is?”
love. Biblical ideals. protection. relationships.
meandering trails. on-coming traffic.
“I’d really like to know for sure … that I am safe.”
….. all the answers that i started with turned out questions in the end …..