“Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found” (Anne Morrow Lindbergh).
MOST OF US CRAVE SECURITY. We fear the prospect of inadequacy or insufficiency — physically, financially, socially, or in almost any other way. And so we try to insure ourselves. Faced with possible losses, deficiencies, and dangers, we try to guarantee that we won’t come up short. Yet we tend to look for security in all the wrong places, and our chosen forms of “insurance” turn out to leave us vulnerable still. As Anne Morrow Lindbergh pointed out, true security is a paradox in that it comes from things that seem more threatening than safe: things like growth, reform, and change. There is little real insurance or safety inside our personal comfort zones. To insure our greatest safety, we have to do some fairly risky and “unsafe” things.
The best kind of insurance is a kind that can’t be bought with money: it is a matter of character. When we pay the price to build a quality character on the inside — based on valid, true-north principles — nothing that happens on the outside can do us any lasting harm.
The bigger question, however, is not how much insurance we have, but how much we provide. In other words, how much security do we add to the lives of those around us? It is a far finer thing to work at making others feel safe than to worry about whether they’re making us safe, and in fact we are safest when our focus is on others.
But whether it’s insurance for ourselves or for those we come in contact with, true security calls for a long-term perspective. The shortcuts in life that promise easy safety may be tempting, but in the end, the only kind of insurance that will work is doing what is right — and if you haven’t noticed, doing what is right is not always easy. Acting justly won’t protect us from life’s ups and downs right now, but if we’re thinking clearly, we won’t be concerned about that too much. Our faith will be in ultimate justice, the eventual triumph of what is right when all the facts are known. So anytime we have to choose between what is right and what is easy, let us choose what is right, although it is scary. In this case, the scariest choice is by far the safest.
“Justice is the insurance we have on our lives, and obedience is the premium we pay for it” (William Penn).