I can remember the moment when I was willing to be truly vulnerable with life again. I was walking around in a beach town, talking to my friend. I was talking about my safe little life back in Stillwater, Minnesota, where I thought I had everything under control. I had avoided living in big cities and thought small town living would be safe. In that small town, working for its daily newspaper, I had found all the potential held in life. I got that big break that put me, an unknown author, on the New York Times best-seller list. And my son had died. Small town life wasn’t as limiting as I feared or as safe as I had hoped.
I told my friend about the time, many years later, I was wandering around the Middle East. I was talking to my daughter on a cell phone. She was on her cell, too, driving through the heart of Los Angeles.
“Aren’t you scared over there?” she asked. “Isn’t your life in danger?”
Just then a man honked at her. I heard him scream through her window, “If you don’t get that car out of the way, I’m going to have you killed.”
“Complete safety is an illusion,” I said to my friend. “Maybe the only time we’re really safe is when we’re willing to acknowledge how vulnerable we really are, no matter what we’re doing, and be okay with that.”
“Ask God to be with me,” I said to an older woman who was my mentor at the time.
“Foolish child,” she said. “You don’t have to ask God to be with you. He’s already there, wherever you are.”
God, help me to feel safe, comfortable, and in your presence wherever I am today.