I have begun to wonder if part of my problem is that I am not quite domesticated. On my walks in the morning I have opportunity to see many deer. They are always on alert with their ears perked up to catch the slightest sound. When they hear us coming their heads come up and their white-flag tails raise. Soon they are bounding away from me and my oh so threatening basset hound.
Wild animals must be alert like this for the sake of their survival. There seems to be a part of me that is always on alert too. Part of my mind is always searching to find some new thing to worry about. The safety of my family is always on my mind. I love my children with every fiber of my being and the thought of something happening to them is enough to send my mind bounding away on another string of imagined terrors. I long for my family to be completely and utterly safe.
I think this longing for security is the biggest drive behind many of the things we do. Money and possessions give a sense of security. After all money can buy food, a home in a safe neighborhood and better health care. Still we find their are other dangers out there, so we work and worry to accumulate more money. We live in a relatively safe country but all the "what ifs" are still out there. Sometimes they even become a stark reality as they did ten years ago on September 11. So, we accumulate more weapons, more military might thinking surely that will make us safe.
It won't. As long as anyone in the world suffers then none of us are safe. For example, if there is a person living on the streets due to mental illness then we are all just a few misfiring synapses away from homelessness. As long as there are starving children in the world then we are all just a drought or disaster away from watching our children ache with hunger too. As long as there is violence in the world, whether we are the perpetrators or not, we are all in danger.
I have come to the realization that the best way to keep my children safe is to do what I can to move the world toward peace, justice, and mercy for all people. As I contemplated writing a check for charity this week, I reminded myself of that. As I contemplated writing this blog I reminded myself of that. No amount of money will make my children safe. Saying popular things will not keep my children safe. Living generously just might make them a little safer.
We all want to be superheroes for our loved ones, swooping in and saving them from any danger. But have you ever noticed how many explosions happen around superheroes? This does not increase safety. Real-life superheroes are people who work to make the world a better place through generosity, mercy, and working for justice and peace. For most of us being this type of superhero won't mean charging off to Africa. Most of us will work for peace and justice in the little things we do every day: what we teach our children, what we buy, small acts of kindness.
You can be a superhero. You can even pick out your own superhero name. I call dibs on "Mighty Mom". I think my cape will be an apron. After all, home cooked meals strike a blow for the environment, healthy living, and financial stewardship. Instead of X-ray vision, Mighty Mom has the power to see past messes to take time for her children. She wears consumerism deflecting sweatpants and sustainably-produced food enhancing garden gloves and chore boots. Next time I can't sleep because I am worrying about my children, I will ponder what the rest of my superhero persona might be.
What is your superhero persona? Give it some thought and please share. (I think Mighty Mom also carries clothes pins so that she is equipped to handle housework emergencies in an environmentally friendly manner..."What's that? Someone has wet clothes that need drying? I am on my way!"... Thinking this stuff up is too fun! Join in the fun and please comment!)