My tongue is in my hand…

How to build a safety net

Posted on: April 17, 2009

At any given time, our lives are subject to change drastically. For the good, or the bad. At this point in the relatively young lives of my friends and I (as twentysomethings), we may have already had moments like this, but the truth of the matter is, we will have many more. Some of us will get cancer, get divorced, lose a child, lose a home, lose our parents, lose our jobs, lose each other, plan funerals, spend nights by our children’s bed in the hospital, be victims of a crime, suffer a natural disaster, survive battles of all kinds that others don’t and live with the knowledge of that…We’ll also experience love, get married, buy houses, get promotions, have babies, go on fantastic trips, make a million shining memories, start businesses, fight for worthy causes, get college and graduate and other degrees, reach milestones, realize dreams…the list of things that happen to people are endless. And these things will happen to us. If our circle is big enough, all these things may happen to all of us.

The thing about friendships and families is that they are really little communities. The larger we allow our friendships and sense of family to expand, the bigger our community is, and the more connected we all are. There’s nothing to hold us together anymore besides our decision to hold ourselves together. No lunchrooms or hallways or dorms…even neighborhoods, jobs, churches, families, clubs and teams can’t hold us by now, unless we decide we want them to. If we want to hold on to one another, we must do the holding. Even if it’s mainly within us, as long as it’s there.

I’m so proud of my friends for doing this recently as we pitched in to support a friend we’ve had for years, even if some of us haven’t had contact lately. Just the coming together in support means that we are holding one another. And this is going to be so important as the years go on. There are so many ways to keep up with one another, no matter how busy or far away we are in physical distance, that there are no excuses.

We have to be vigilant in love. There will come a time, for each of us, that we will be in those drastically life changing moments and  for whatever moment that is, good or bad, it’s sweeter if there is a sense of support beyond our arms reach. If there is, all around us, people who hold us in their hearts and minds and join with us to acknowledge and sweeten the bitter, to pour forth joy at our joy, to grant us the peace that it is to know there are people- flesh and blood people- that hold us, one way or another; to allow us the encouragement of mattering, the validation of our experiences mattering outside our own selves.

I fold people into my heart that may not even know they’ve been folded in, but they are. And should the time come that I think they would benefit to know, they will. I want my circle to be woven so many layers thick with hearts and hands that it will be ready to catch anything. We”are what we have, just each other. The more we hold on to of one another, the more we are held.

We have to be active in our love. We have to be sincere. We have to be honest. We have to, above all things, be willing. Willing to give and receive as needed. I see around me, so many people that may not realize how threaded they are, we are. Every new connection we make as individuals increases our possibilities for community.

No thing, no government or program or amount of money or plan or any thing will save us as much as we can save one another. No accomplishment can compare to the way it feels to have love poured over you from those you love, from those you hold, and from those you barely or don’t even know. It is our responsibility to our selves, to our families, to our friends, to participate in our community, as that community is us. Not only should we be the change we wish to see in the world, but we should also be the people we wish to see in the world.

More change can come from this awareness, this action, than can come from anything else. We are the essence of our deepest problems and our most expansive possibilities. All of us, together. This is not the first time we’ve heard this. But words are just lines and designs if they are not actions; if they are not movements; if they are not digested and used as fuel; if they are not worn across our chests and our knuckles, under our fingernails; if they are not embodied and walking the streets; then they are just things that fill the silence.

We are the things that make words mean. We are the things that make things change. We have, before us always, opportunity to hold one another, based if nothing else, but on our shared existence.

There are things we will never predict, never control, that will come in to each of our lives and change us. There are things in our life we will never be able to hold, or hold on to. And then there is us. Our community. As big as we allow it to be. We have us. We have one another.

May our lives reflect that no matter our differences, we share this -us. We invest in us, we are FOR us. Because if this is true, our differences matter very very little. If we are for us, we are, by default, not for anything that separates us, weakens us. It’s not religious or political. It’s human. We are for one another. Each person is for each other person. To support. To care. To love. It is so simple and we are so complex that I doubt we’ll ever really get it. But if we live our lives, even part of our lives, even a few solid and  sincere days of our lives, each believing this, each living this, then we will thread into our safety net that much more thread, catch that many more broken pieces, maybe even weaving into the part that one day, catches us.

Because, let’s face it: at some point or another, we’re all going down. And the more expansive and tightly woven our safety net is, the less we’ll suffer from the fall.

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4 Responses to "How to build a safety net"

I could read this stuff all day. I need to get a printer. I need to print this out and carry it with me. It’s weaponized word. Any time something crawls out and tries to depress or attack me I can just pull out that printed page and read it again, aloud, fiercely.

It’ll kill it.

I don’t know how you’ve been doing since these posts… I know I’m terribly late with the comments but it’s been a shocking past week. 😦 Nothing compared to yours I’m confident but all the same I wish you the very best…

Everything you say is exceptional. I could swim in it…

So, now it’s been a couple weeks, but what was shocking in your week?

I do not even remember. Bad week at work or… something. I think I was having girlfriend troubles… I cannot remember. I have a short attention span for things that have been fixed.

well i’m glad they’re fixed, whatever they were 🙂

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