Monday, November 17, 2008


"There is no such thing as security. There never has been." Germaine Greer.

I've been thinking about this quote for several days. It seems be both bold and, oddly, liberating to me.

We seem to spend our lives chasing after and working for security whether it be financial, emotional or physical. And, while I can certainly understand the desire, I am perplexed by the frantic way in which we pursue it. I have longed for this sort of security for as long as I can remember, but I can't help thinking that we seem to be chasing a will-o-the-wisp.

Certainly, the current economic situation has people very much afraid for their current and future financial security. But my finances were precarious before the recent events began, so I don't think that is what has set my mind to working on this question. Having grown up poor, I intimately know the stress of financial insecurity. We stretched a gallon of milk twice as far using powdered milk, Kraft macaroni and cheese was five boxes for a dollar, and I watched my mother stay up all night sewing so that we would have new clothes to wear. Jobs can disappear in a moment and child support fails to come. As an adult, I traded quite a bit of the rest of my needs in life for the illusion of financial security and, in the end, it simply wasn't worth it.

Emotionally, every last one of us has experienced disappointments and hurts that prove that security is an uncertain commodity there as well. There are exceptions, sometimes a great many of them, but there is never security here either. It begins when your best friend in kindergarten decides she really likes Sally better than you and continues right through to the one you thought was THE ONE, who couldn't be that one for you or anyone else.

Physically, we are vulnerable every second that we breathe. I heard someone once say that from the day of our birth, we begin to die and, no matter how much we would like to pretend otherwise, it is true. Friends and loved ones have been vibrant one minute and dead the next through heart attacks or accidents. Others waste away before our helpless eyes. Natural disasters, diseases and calamities hover at the edges of our existence. And violence, which may not kill our bodies, can steal our spirits in a flash.

So, why do I find this quote both potentially liberating and comforting? In acknowledging the reality of insecurity, I feel that I am opening myself up to more fully appreciate the many positive experiences that I have. By not wrapping myself in bubble wrap and believing myself to be safe and secure, I think it may be better for me to fall into the insecurity. By acknowledging the possibility of loss, I believe I enhance the experiences by feeling more gratitude for the blessings of each and every good thing that comes my way. By insulating ourselves from pain, we can also numb ourselves to joy and that is what I sincerely hope to avoid. I think it may allow fuller expression of our true selves. And, while I will continue to make sure my pantry is stocked, I hope to live more in the blissful moments that present themselves.


Denise said...

I'm so behind on my blog reading.

Security has always been a fleeting idea in my life.

yarnpiggy said...

Great food for thought. I'm certainly guilty of risk-avoidance, which comes at a high cost. I'm working on changing that. :-)