14 Apr 2018

Presumption of Safety

"I would travel to the end of the universe"
Some rights reserved CC BY-NC 2.0 by Raja Sambasivan.
Sourced from Flickr.
        This week I had opportunity to reflect on how often I presume I will be safe - and how arrogant that presumption can be.
         This came about as I engaged in conversations at a provincial discussion on Human Trafficking. Reflecting on 'getting there' (to the conference centre), I shared that in one typical journey, I drove to the commuter train, which took me to another train station, where I entered a taxi to the retreat centre. Easy, yes? What could possibly go wrong?
         Well, as it turns out - nothing. Nothing went wrong. But so much *could* have been problematic. My house was secure when I came home, my dogs happy to see me. There had been no break in, no burst pipes, no tree falling through the roof. The roads had been clear and maintained, the other drivers (mostly) followed the rules of the road. My car was still at the station, untouched, all day. The trains stayed on the tracks and there were no incidents en route. I literally got into a strangers' car by myself to be taken to a less-populated location.
         My goodness, how much could have gone wrong.
         My goodness, what an opportunity to be thankful that nothing went wrong.
         Sure, I could complain that the traffic had been busy, or that I had missed my first intended train, or that I had to transfer trains in Toronto, or that the taxi was costly... there are any number of things I could complain about.
         But they really are superficial. My safety was not threatened. My well-being was maintained.
         For many, all over the world, a journey of that duration could be a life-threatening experience. For many, it could be cost-prohibitive. For many, it could mean a trip in fear due to external threats.
         But I was safe. Our culture and communities strive to provide sufficient safeguards; my finances are such that a taxi trip does not mean I have to skip meals this coming week; my physical self was not fleeing some unfathomable danger. I was safe. As I had presumed I would be.
         So I am thankful. I am thankful for the circumstances that aligned so that I could be safe, in body and in mind and in spirit. I am challenged to be mindful of those for whom such a journey is not safe. And I'm called, as a Christian, to do all that I can to make the presumption of safety a normal and normative reality for all fo God's children.

         I was safe - as I presumed. God help me never to forget to be thankful for the safety I enjoy; God help me never to be so arrogant as to presume that everyone enjoys the luxury of safety.

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