As teenagers, my cousin visiting from Ireland, Shamus Lee, says: “Sure, let’s sneak out to a nightclub for some adventure.” I tell him Australian women were pretty boring and all they really want is security. Shamus uses his Irish charm and we find ourselves in some den of iniquity.
Shamus exclaims: “Bless my soul! Look at all these women!” If we wanted our souls blessed, this was the wrong place! I started feeling very insecure. Reluctantly, I give Shamus my best advice about Australian women: “Now Shamus, a pickup line I think I heard is ‘Can you buy me a drink?’ Also, Shamus, I think Aussie girls love answering very personal questions.
“Well I’ll be a purple leprechaun!” says Shamus as he hurls himself into the sea of Aussie women on the dance floor. Three minutes later, I see Shamus running towards me with six huge security guards after him. As we run for our lives Shamus gasps: “Sure, you were right about one thing! All women here want is security! Every time I was getting somewhere they’d shout ‘Security!’
H.G. Wells’ classic The Time Machine (1895) tells the story of “the Time Traveller” who travels to the year A.D. 802,701. There he meets the Eloi - a society living in small communities among slowly deteriorating buildings, and having a fruit-based diet. Humanity has not evolved but devolved. His efforts to communicate with them are frustrated –they’re neither curious nor disciplined. They’re carefree, but fear the dark where their predators, the Morlocks, abduct Eloi. When the Time Traveller sees an Eloi drowning, he is forced to save her as none of the other Eloi care. Their disinterest in her security begins the Time Traveller’s journey of teaching the Eloi they must risk their own security, by helping others, to bring security to all.
The Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand reminds us there are still people willing to risk their own security to secure others – even complete strangers. It’s a human trait rarely found among animals.
Jesus said: “Do not worry about tomorrow. Today has enough worries of its own.”
So, how do we deal with today’s insecurities?
Put your oxygen mask on first: do your tax return, make that call you don’t want to make, clean that room you don’t want to clean – because physical clutter is mental clutter, and vice versa.
Then help others put their oxygen mask on – don’t threaten or guilt trip people, encourage people especially children, do the things that you think will make other people’s lives more peaceful. We don’t always know how to deal with our own insecurities, yet strangely we almost always know how to make someone else feel a bit more secure. Perhaps because helping others find their security is the path to finding our own.