Security can mean different things to different people
Secure ~ Safe, Protected, Sheltered, Assured, Fixed Firmly
To Make Safe
Soft velveteen ears, the colour of burning caramel, warm and comforting between my fingers. They were my comfort, my security for a number of years. I couldn’t get enough of gently rubbing those ears between my thumb and forefinger and against my nose.
Much like a child sucking her thumb and soothing herself with a worn and loved ribbon held against her cheek. I remember a friend from school that had such a ribbon as her security amid the preschool playground madness. As the children screamed and ran back and forth in their sturdy chestnut school shoes she would sit quietly and soothe herself with the simplicity of sucking her thumb and holding her frayed blue ribbon. Her ribbon was her security.
Paddington was my ribbon with his two exquisitely soft and perfectly triangular ears atop his broad flat head. He adored affection and I know he took his security from being held in my arms. We would often lie on my bed in the afternoon sunshine and I would forget there was a world outside of my feeling of utter peace and security. The gentle sun warmed me from the outside in; from my crooked toes up to my weary hands and across my eyelids. My head would sink backwards into the down pillow as I dropped my shoulders to the day. The mattress would recoil as Paddington, in all his 34kg Airedale glory, leapt up to join me. He flopped down with a heavy woomph. Paddington had the sweetest nature, believed he was in fact a lap dog and would curl his woolly frame and old soul around me like this at every opportunity. As he found his place in my arms, lying on his side with four straight legs stretched out like giant matchsticks, he would let out a deep contented sigh. A low grumble of utter bliss and security that came from deep within his barrel chest and heart. I made him safe. As I took his ears between my thumb and finger, I didn’t let out a low grumble but I certainly let my worries slip away and pulled security in. He sheltered me.
I smoothed the rich, luxurious geranium scented body lotion into the soft skin of my mum’s hands and feet. Gently massaged her tiny frame and admired the perfect golden skin of her arms. The arms that had protected me through 31 years of life and given me unwavering security. My mum was utterly beautiful and that moment together brought security and peace. The hospice was quiet and filled with summer flowers and peace. A safe haven for final days. My sister and I had chosen the body lotion for mum because it smelled strongly of summer, of the flowers she had adored at home in her garden. Mum’s world had shrunk and become so tiny during her final weeks. The simplest gesture meant everything and we longed to bring her a moment of normality. The ravages of cancer take away so much, the drugs leave a fuzzy haze and we hoped pampering and a loving human touch would bring comfort. I will never forget Mum’s look of peace as she relaxed and breathed in the heady scent. I will never forget the feeling of security it brought us both as I soothed her gently and held in my tears. I recall her impatiently removing her eternity ring, eager to feel the lotion on her hands. I couldn’t understand her speech anymore due to the drugs but I was delighted to see her enthusiasm still shining through. I look at that ring on my finger now and recall with a smile how we were firmly fixed together that moment. We were safe from what we knew was just around the corner. For a moment in time we denied the inevitable with love.
Friends and family. We should all have someone that loves us and makes us feel secure. Someone who holds our hands through tough times and laughs with us through the sunshine. My friends and family are incredible and have been my security and laughter through it all. They have held my hand through times that were consistently, ridiculously hard. It feels trite to group ‘friends and family’ as one when each person is unique and deserves a medal for their unconditional love. Girlfriends cheered me on as I walked through my own personal hell of a tunnel and never once let me down. I made mistakes, I stumbled into the tunnel walls and I damaged a friendship that meant everything to me because of my short-sighted stupidity when I was on my knees. I couldn’t for the life of me find the light as circumstances brought me down again and again but I made it thanks to the love of every single one of those people. They forgave me my mistakes, they pulled me up and kept shoving me onwards when quite frankly I wanted to quit. They made me laugh until I felt sick in my stomach, fed me red wine in abundance and shoved stiletto heels on my feet when all else failed. And most of all they ticked me off when I didn’t confide in them and I tried to fight my way through on my own. Friends and family would not let me fail. They lifted my soul, assured me I would survive and protected me. Security at its finest and I am eternally in awe of them all.
The bird that lives in my bedroom air conditioning unit finds her security in that hideous, plastic structure every single night. I cannot see the bird but I can her rustling around her home noisily. She makes herself comfortable and safe in there every day. She flies away every time I open the window but soon returns to her Super Silent UnionAire home. It hasn’t escaped me that she chooses to avoid the dry heat of the Egyptian days by living in the air conditioning. She is a clever bird indeed.
Hester found her security Under and Curled Tightly In. My adorable, dainty girl was all long legs like a giraffe. She had a heart of pure love and sensitivity towards her humans. After a day of pouncing on Paddington, chasing the birds and lying belly up to the sky on a soft green lawn she loved Under and Curled Tightly In. Comfort and peace Hester style. No matter where she went, from home to the car to camping in Ireland, they came with her.
The ritual of brewing a pot of green tea, a glass of expensive red wine next to the glow of a winter fire. Adventures under blue waters filled with peace and dappled light, quiet time with a favourite old book. Writing word upon rambling word, singing loudly and brightly where nobody can hear. Breathing quietly with healing crystals in hand, the exquisite sound of leaves rustling in woodlands trodden underfoot. The same path walked daily. Sweet sugary baking, cooking for a young family, creating, making and painting. We all have a ritual that makes us safe in this world. Rituals as varied as those of the people I describe with brief insights into their lives.
Life isn’t an easy place to be at times, with all of its demands and expectations. May you take a moment to step back and find your sense of feeling secure in today. Do something to bring you and your loved ones a moment of peace and serenity. Be still, cherish it and bring it back around again tomorrow.
“You’ll have a good, secure life when being alive means more to you than security, love more than money, your freedom more than public or partisan opinion, when the mood of Beethoven’s or Bach’s music becomes the mood of your whole life … when your thinking is in harmony, and no longer in conflict, with your feelings … when you let yourself be guided by the thoughts of great sages and no longer by the crimes of great warriors … when you pay the men and women who teach your children better than the politicians; when truths inspire you and empty formulas repel you…”
Wilhelm Reich. Listen, Little Man