Our two indoor cats like to sit at either the front or back window and see what’s going on outside. There are a couple of outdoor cats roaming around. Perhaps a squirrel or bird fluttering about the yard. The wind blows leaves, sometimes into a spider web attached to the window frame.
Do our cats dream of running free, like the animals and objects they see outside?
I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.
But they are safe indoors. They don’t have to worry about hunger. Their food and water dishes never are empty (don’t ask them about that, however). The litter box is cleaned regularly. They have each other to play with.
They nap on our bed, on the entertainment center, on chairs. They get lots of affection and attention. They have a great life.
A safe life.
Free from worry about disease, attacks from predators, hunger or stormy weather (but not the vacuum cleaner – they scurry into hiding when it comes out of the closet).
Is this the best life has to offer?
For them, it probably is.
For me, it’s likely not.
No risk, no reward
I drive a van for a living now, on two-lane roads, neighborhood streets and highways. I haven’t witnessed a crash yet, although I’ve seen the aftermath of several. I’ve had a couple of close calls with selfish drivers nearly wrecking us both. I drive defensively, although I drive through yellow and pink lights pretty much every day.
Not red lights. That’s how many collisions happen.
Life involves risk. Driving is just one.
At one time, I had a job for life. My company said so in writing. As long as the newspaper I worked for continued to publish seven days a week, I had a job for as long as I wanted it. That’s as secure as a job ever gets.
Of course, the newspaper industry isn’t as strong as it once was. The newspaper cut back to three days a week in 2009 and my job (along with many others) was eliminated.
My life of safety and security, if it ever really existed, had ended.
I no longer can offer my wife a secure future. We aren’t going to go broke, but I’ll never have a job again that is as secure as my old job was. Indeed, I’ve held several jobs since 2009, the longest for 2.5 years, and I was unemployed twice since then – both times for nearly a year.
Do I reminisce for the good old days? There’s no point in that. We didn’t realize how good we had it until it was gone. Many of the people I worked with there remain friends today. A few of them are still in journalism; most are not.
Like some of my co-workers, I left town. Indeed, I left the state.
Safety and security? They aren’t in my vocabulary any more.
But that has opened new doors for me. I’ve met many people I never otherwise would have met. New friends. New skills. New experiences.
New opportunities. Some worked out, some didn’t.
I’ve learned and grown as a person with each opportunity. Will I drive this van for the next 10 years? I have no idea. Perhaps. Or, maybe something else will come along.
All three of our sons, in their mid-20s, have experienced change this year. Our middle son accepted a job in his career field in Denver. We’re planning to visit him out there this fall. Our oldest also has a job in his career field; he recently moved to an apartment just a few minutes from his office. Our youngest son just graduated from college and is searching for his next step. He will find it soon, I’m sure.
Does job security even exist anymore? What hope do our sons have of working for the same company for 20 or more years? Would they even see that as a goal?
‘Happily ever after’ a fairy tale
Safety and security are no longer top priorities in this country. Nor should they be, really. For Christians, God never promised “happily ever after” on Earth. He promised suffering. Great. Such joy. Yes, He promised that too.
Some of my Christian friends offer canned Facebook posts that say things like, “God will give you money today. Share if you agree.” God is not a genie. He wants to give us so much more than money. Seriously.
We can serve Him wherever we are, whatever job we have, whatever city or town we live in. There are advantages to remaining in one place for a long time; we can get involved deeply in activities, and earn leadership roles.
When we relocate, we are starting over. It takes time to develop friendships and relationships, to earn the respect of others.
I lived in three states as a child; my parents relocated every four to six years. Mom and Dad lived in a fourth state while I was at college. Perhaps I do not have the “safety and security” gene in me. We raised our sons in one place, birth through high school, to give them continuity. But none of them live in that town anymore.
Security in God
When we move someplace new, what do we have to lean on but God? How do we find friends? Our first stop is a local church that preaches Christ crucified. There, we find brothers and sisters. Not by blood, of course, but in spirit. And that’s just as good.
Jesus Himself wandered the countryside. He did not remain in one place. If He is our example, why do we remain in our hometowns and keep our traditions for generation after generation? Just wondering.
I have no hometown on Earth. I lived in one city for 27 years, but that chapter of my life has ended. Great memories, certainly. But I’ve moved on.
We’ve been in Elyria, Ohio, for 2.5 years, and I’m on my second job here. Hopefully I’m making myself useful at work. Security? No. Nothing is guaranteed.
And that’s OK.
Doors may close and others may open. I’ve seen that everywhere I’ve been, including here.
I work a split shift most days, with time off midday. I run errands, exercise and write blogs during these periods. Today, I have an errand to run before I head in.
Catch you next time. God willing.
But don’t wait by the window for me, like our cats do. Get out there and live life. I hope our paths will continue to cross. Whether in person or online.
Don’t be afraid of the unknown. A new adventure awaits. It’s inevitable. You can’t avoid it. Might as well embrace it.
God just might have a new blessing for you.