If there is a quote on my gravestone, it should say this:
She took everything she had everywhere she went and never had what she needed.
Lordy, it’s true. (Just ask my husband.) A quick weekend hop to visit Dad in Florida requires two knitting projects, five magazines, three books, two laptops, two digital cameras and an iPad. Oh, and a sketchbook. And that doesn’t even count the multiple outfits per day I pack–casual, dressier, warmer, cooler, and the all important “what if I just don’t feel like wearing any of the others?” option.
It’s ridiculous, this I recognize.
I just don’t know what to do about it.
No wonder my heart stopped as I listened to Sister Simone Campbell, a nun, lawyer, lobbyist, poet and “Zen contemplative” as she exposed the root of my problem–an obsession with security–in her beautiful “How to be Spiritually Bold” conversation with Krista Tippett of On Being.
She was talking about bigger things than my inefficient packing –inequality, oppression, liberation theology–when she casually mentioned a need for a new theology in the United States. Here’s what she said that got my attention.
I came to this insight. I think our sin is our obsession with security. Our obsession that everything ought to work out perfectly for us.That we ought to have every conceivable drop of oil ever that we’d ever need, any time. That we have to have electricity. And a guarantee I brought the right clothes, so I brought extra just in case I needed extra layers. I mean, all this obsession with having everything we need.
Security is an illusion, she said, because we’re all vulnerable. We would be much better off if we just made peace with insecurity.
Make peace with insecurity.
(That spoke to my heart.)
We’re all vulnerable.
And so I have been giving a lot of thought to this idea of making peace with insecurity. What does that really mean, anyway? And how would I go about it?
It reminds me of the trip we took to Colorado just last month. Tim and I made the long climb (in a car) from Boulder up Flagstaff Mountain to Lost Gulch Lookout. My palms were sweating as I watched my unaffected husband bounce around on the edge of those rocks.
So you feel afraid my soul whispered. Go anyway. Don’t miss that view.
And so I did.
I’ve also thought of the concepts of vulnerability and insecurity as I’ve walked around my yard of late. I’ve had enough run-ins with snakes to warrant a fair amount of caution, let me be clear. But when I was on the verge of buying flowers rather than collecting my own pretty ones, I knew a talk with myself was in order.
I need to change my perspective, I said. Snakes and I have peacefully co-existed my entire life–I just haven’t been hyper-aware they are there. Perhaps I should recognize their toleration of me. Perhaps I could respect their right to live here, too.
And then I packed for Florida. I wasn’t perfect–but it was a vast improvement. No magazines, no books, only one knitting project. And only two extra outfits.
Now that’s progress.
The Theology of Insecurity. I’m working on it.
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