Don't get eaten alive.
|"For the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
We've all read the stories about wild animals attacking someone or wreaking destruction. One place I lived had a family who left an apple pie in the window to cool. A bear smelled it and broke into their home, demolishing their kitchen. No one was injured, but the damage to their home was its own kind of hurt. They were forced to repair the damage and replace what was lost. Worse than that was the feeling of invasion they experienced; the sure knowledge that their home isn't as safe as they previously thought.
My girlfriend's sister suffered a house fire that left her and her husband living in a trailer for months. The loss was profound because while the house could be repaired, it would never be the place they had before. It could no longer feel like a shelter. They now know how quickly life can change and destroy our illusions of security.
Then there are the people we see who make us feel unsafe. One of mine is the mentally ill man who visited our downtown library. The local library is a safe place for our local homeless population, and you would sometimes find them inside.He would enter, clad in neo-nazi clothing and black leather and use one of the study areas to read. He radiated malice and I actively avoided him when we were there at the same time. He was frightening.
We are never safe. I'd like to believe bad things happen to others, but every moment brings the possibility of that big, ugly thing that always happens to someone else arriving for me. Part of me works to fend it off by using different tactics. If I just find the right thing to do, I'll be fine. If I practice yoga, discover my inner child, or eat superfoods, nothing bad can happen. If I join a gym or a food co-op or a weight-loss group, everything will be fine. I just need to find the right combination of proactive behavior to keep danger away. Then I don't have to fear for my safety.
The problem is that I'm already afraid and acting not simply out of prudence but as a response to doubt and worry. My fear wants to rule me and limit my choices. The common conundrum begins with "what if?" What if I become sick? What if I don't lose weight? What if a crazy woman shows up at my home? The variety of problems I can imagine creates worry, and I fret. This often leads to criticism of myself---if I really had willpower I could lose that weight---followed by the nasty little voices in my head becoming louder and more insistent.