Tiny nostrils

breathing in

sweet sweat

Bound tightly

by bright colours

to a warm, capable back

Hearing her melodic hum

calming anxious cries

Held and cradled

in a place both soft

and strong

Perfectly safe in

her cocoon of care

We have heard the phrase ‘stay safe’ a lot. I don’t remember it being part of everyday greetings or written at the end of emails until this time. It has made me ponder about safety, about the times I have been utterly safe, about what this felt like, what was there, what wasn’t. I wonder too on how to offer safety to others, especially when those who are meant to protect cause harm. True safety is about so much more though, than the absence of harm or prejudice. For us to truly ‘dwell in safety’ means careful attention to what is present, for us and for those we offer safety to.

In cocoons of safety we can heal and grow at the same time, we are reminded of who we really are. Of course we can’t spend our whole lives here because we are built for risk and adventure too. But at some points in our lives, a cocoon of safety is exactly where we need to be. The cocoon is where we return to, to rest in a place both soft and strong, both tender and dependable. We often turn up bruised, damaged, broken, heavy laden. We put down our bags. We take a real and metaphorical drink of cold water, melt into fresh sheets, are fed and tended to. Demands on us are alleviated, even just for a little while. It could be a few hours, or a few days. Sometimes it needs to be even longer. We enter the cocoon one way and we emerge another. As we repeat this pattern again and again in our lives we come to trust it. To venture forth and eventually needing to find a place of recuperation, of tender loving care. And we are changed again by this. The cocoon could be somewhere we know and with people who are familiar. Or it could be a place of retreat where the invitation to all who come is ‘please, dwell here a while’. This idea of dwelling is significant because not only do we need physical safety but psychological safety, emotional safety and spiritual safety as well.  Or else we are not wholly safe. We can only truly dwell where we are wholly safe. Sometimes it becomes the case on our life journey that our safe place or safe person are no longer available and we are lost and unable to settle, we become drained, flitting about until we can move no longer. This is one of the reasons why we need the kindness of strangers, angels who visits us unawares. They visit and gather us to ourselves and surprise us with cocoons of care, in ways which we may not expect, but which tend to us all the same.

Now, we know that for much of our life we are not wholly safe. We encounter physical threat, emotional pain, psychological manipulation, spiritual distress. We may be unable to access a tangible cocoon of care. At times like these may we find ways to visit by imagination an image that comes to mind and feels safe to us, if just for a few moments. To remind ourselves that what truly matters is always held safely, like a lamb gathered and held close to the heart. And so we need not fear, for our lives and souls forever belong and dwell in safety, in the mysterious unseen. Which means we may trust that, when the time comes, we will one day emerge brighter and freer than ever before. And we will fly.

Header image by GLady from Pixabay

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