The Illusion of Safety

Yesterday we had our first doctor visit with the new doctor since we moved. General check-ups and shots for the older two (W has his appointment tomorrow) as well as a talk with the doctor about how they are developing etc.

To me the interesting thing about this was the emphasis on safety.? Not just regular household safety (keeping cleaning agents and medicines out of reach) but also the assumption that preschoolers should not be in the kitchen when cooking is going on.

Of course small children shouldn’t be in the kitchen unsupervised and some precautions need to be taken, but insulating and isolating them from potentially dangerous situations gives them a false view of the world.? The world is not a safe place and our attempts to pretend that it is cause us unnecessary stress and are ultimately useless. We try to predict the outcome of every decision before making it, plan our lives and our children’s lives in minute detail and then wonder why we have so much trouble connecting with other people and with God.

This shouldn’t really surprise us. Holding ourselves back in relationships and actions, not stepping outside of our comfort zone means we will rarely (if ever experience) the exhilaration of the unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, the unexpected will happen, we just won’t have a good interaction with it when it does happen.

Our neighbors and friends will do and say surprising things, but instead of being able to appreciate them and their diversity we will analyze and judge.

Our children will follow paths different from the ones we planned and we will be disappointed.

Our spiritual journey will go differently than we planned, and we will draw back from God and who he is making us to be.

Judging, planning and analyzing are not bad things. I have argued before and will continue to say that they are also one of the ways that we reflect our creator. We just have a tendency to use them as a means of control and cut ourselves off from experiencing the unexpected as a good thing.

Truly safety and control are illusional. No matter how much I try to control the situation in the kitchen, make safety rules and enforce them etc. there is always the chance that a knife will slip, boiling water will splash or some other unexpected thing will happen. I could take this fact and stay out of the kitchen, but then I would never experience the other unexpecteds that can occur there.? I would be denying us the chance to see how a recipe will turn out, or to watch someone taste a dish and be fed by it in their body and soul.

My choice is to analyze and judge, to take reasonable precautions and then to do. When I dance on the knife edge of caution and embracing the unexpected I begin to live.

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