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The other day I was in the elevator at a major Boston hospital heading to the 16th floor.  The elevator was full of people; visitors carryi...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Safety first.



“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
~~~George Eliot


Sometimes, someone will ask me what attracted me to my husband. How I knew that he was the one.

My honest answer would be that he made me feel safe.

Feeling safe is something we don't think about a lot. But it is there. It is the thing that guides our lives much more than we know.

In hospice, most patients wish to die at home. Why? Because they feel safe there. And if they don't feel safe at home, they will express a wish to die at our hospice house or in the hospital.

Kids feel safe when they see mom or dad. Teens seek safety in numbers. There are safety precautions on every form of travel, in every pool we swim in, in every lake with lifeguards.

Safety is important. Feeling safe is important.

I think that many people do not feel safe. They are out there in this big old world and feel unprotected. They are afraid. They seek refuge in alcohol or maybe drugs to get rid of the feeling. That feeling of being alone, even in a roomful of people. It is sad.

I sat this weekend with a mom of 4 who was dying from breast cancer that she had been fighting for over a decade. Some of her kids only knew her as a mommy who was sick. But they all turned out great. Have great lives. Have gone to wonderful schools and graduated at the top of their class. And why?

Because she made them feel safe. Always. Even until the very end.

When you feel safe, you try more things. You feel as though you can do more because you have this safety net below you that will catch you when you fall. It is a wonderful thing to know that you will be loved if you fail, that you will be cared for no matter what. That no one will be disappointed in you for trying to do your very best.

But sometimes that safety net fails, and you will not trust it again. No matter who is holding it.

It is the kind of blunder that can ruin lives. Quite literally.

We all know someone like that.

Feeling safe doesn't mean that life will be fair, that people won't let you down, that you won't feel bad at times. Of course you will.

But having just that one sure thing in your life can make all of that seem less important somehow. You feel more centered and more confident. You get knocked down but there is always that helping hand to get you back on your feet.

I wish everyone had someone in their lives that made them feel totally safe.

The world would be a much kinder place.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~~~Maya Angelou

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