Thoughts: Safety

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Back to the routine. A little late this morning, but back to it none the less.

The woman I love and I ran away for a few days over the New Year’s holiday. I didn’t write a line. I disconnected from work and church, and other than my kids, I didn’t answer the phone or texts. It was just the two of us.

We slept late. Ate well. Wandered through shops and sat on rocky beaches. We reconnected in a way and at a depth that is hard to do when life is swirling around you. It is at times like our few days in Rye, NH, that you fall in love with each other again, as opposed to simply loving each other.

This was our Christmas gift to each other and it was far finer a gift than anything we might have picked up for each other over the holiday. I have enough things. Probably more than I need. But time with the people who are precious, uninterrupted, focus-on-each-other time. That’s rare. That’s wonderful. That’s important.

We spent some time talking about the new year. What did we want for ourselves, professionally and personally? We talked about changes and growth, hopes and things we want to do with intent. we talked about our kids. We talked about silly things, odd things we found in little shops, the sound of the waves pounding the shoreline and the warm sun (It was 51!).

We talk a lot. I think we talk more than most couples. That is unusual for me. I’m not a talker, despite the fact that I have to speak a lot in my work. Left to myself I am quiet. Because I think and process emotions slowly, I don’t ramble on about them much. My mouth always seems to be a day behind my feelings, and when that is the case, you don’t talk in the moment much. At best, you write about it days later, when the emotions have settled in and taken form. All that makes me not the easiest person to have a relationship with. I can be frustrating without meaning to be.

But we talk. There is something about this woman I love that makes me more able to talk in the moment. I’m still not the best at it, but with her, I feel safer to work my thoughts through verbally than I ever have before. There is a safety to verbally work through things that I have never felt. I can stumble through things without going under attack for half cooked (I am avoiding the phrase “half-baked”.) thoughts.

More and more, I have come to a place where I believe safety is at the center of success in life. Feeling physically safe, financially safe, emotionally safe, frees us to be our best selves. As both a pastor and a life coach, I see it in other people’s lives. When people feel safe, they flourish. When they do not, life comes apart. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally – without safety, we collapse into ourselves. We lash out. We hurt ourselves and others, even people we love.

Safety is everything.

I rant on this from time to time. People tell me I should write a book. But at this point, I don’t know where to begin. I have spent big chunks of life feeling unsafe, mostly relationally. This whole feeling safe thing is new to me. I am still adjusting to it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by it. I don’t always know what to do with it.

But I do know it is something really, really good. It deserves to be treasured and it deserves to be nourished. So give me more trips to new places, and less stuff. I’m going to savor this place and this woman who brought me to this place. For me, it’s not just a new year, it’s a new life. And a few years into us, I find myself still amazed at the difference.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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