"There's no promise in safety." - Thrice, The Melting Point
This evening I was sitting at my desk, paying some bills, when suddenly a little flicker caught my eye. There, sitting on the middle of my rug, with it's beady eyes twitching, was a mouse.
I instantly leaped up, crawled into a ball on my couch, and called all of the big, strapping men who live on campus at the seminary. Luckily my friend Alex (really, a true hero) came over and set a mouse trap for me. I'm still a bit creeped out, to be honest. My eyes keep flicking back to that rug, and my stomach tied up on knots. I swear I hear that little critter walk around my kitchen, which I know is silly because he's probably working just as hard to hide from me as I am from him.
But in my neurotic huddle on the couch, I had one recurring thought: who can we count on when we are deeply disturbed?
It was amazing that I had several people I could call to help me out, people I could be really awkward with. It's a good friend who not only can decipher your panicked, squealing messages, but will instantly drop what they are doing to help remove vermin from your house. It helps a great deal that my other strapping seminarian friends have all called to check up on me to make sure I'm okay. It also helps that my dear friend Alex told me that he will continue to come and check the trap for me until we catch the mouse. He knows my level of disturbia is high and will cross the distance to put me at ease. I'd be willing to bet my other friends touched base with me tonight would do the same thing.
I told someone today that you know a relationship will go the distance when you are safe enough to show them the ugly sides of your personality and know they will love you anyways. There's no promise in safety, and there's no promise that feeling safe with someone will always come in beautiful, calm packages. Sometimes knowing that a relationship is real is knowing that you can count on someone to make things safe for you when you cannot. That is one of the promises we make when forming Christian communities - to create safe places. There's no guarantee that we can always create that space, but there can be a promise to try. Alex didn't promise to get the mouse, but he did promise to try. That makes my home safe, and it makes my heart feel safe with him.
Trying is the promise in safety, and that is a beautiful way to live.