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. They certainly like asking them! And remember Shamus, if an Australian woman starts sweating or motioning to leave as you’re talking to her, that just means she’s shy or playing ‘hard to get’. Keep persevering with her Shamus!”
“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! Can somebody get me security.’ ”
H.G. Wells’s classic The Time Machine (1895) tells the story of a man identified only as “the Time Traveller” who travels to the year AD 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. The Time Traveller’s efforts to communicate with them are frustrated by their lack of curiosity or discipline. The Eloi appeared happy and carefree; but they fear the dark where their predators, the Morlocks, abduct Eloi who are never seen again. When the Time Traveller sees one of the Eloi drowning, he is forced to save her as none of the other Eloi have any care or interest in her plight. Their disinterest in her security begins the Time Traveller’s journey of teaching the remaining Eloi that they must risk their own security by helping each other in order to secure their security and the security of others.
The Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand is an inspiring reminder that there are still many in this world willing to risk their own security to secure others – even complete strangers. It’s a human trait rarely found among animals. Everybody has insecurities, and that’s OK. Yes, bad things can happen. You could die tomorrow. England could win the World Cup … only joking. It can’t.
Jesus said: “Do not worry about tomorrow. Today has enough worries of it’s own.”
So, how do we deal with today’s insecurities? They say on a plane you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first, as you won’t be much good to anyone else if you can’t breathe. So put your oxygen mask on – do your tax return, make that call you don’t want to make, study for that exam you’re afraid you’ll fail, 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 – neither threaten nor 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 that little bit more secure. Perhaps because helping others find their security is the path to finding our own.