Dogs like safe places! And there are some thoughts about hiding out that are relevant to us as humans. Hiding out in their kennels where they are safe from all alarms, dogs have the perfect place to land after a day of rough play and rowdy interactions.
“Kennel up” is the loving command that I heard given to my grand-dog Boomer. It was the same as saying, “Go, be safe inside your home.”
Boomer’s home certainly looks like a cage to me! It is, however, his place of hiding out in security, away from the maddening crowd. But Boomer is a bit bigger than the wire parameters that surround him, so the door to his kennel is left open. About 6 inches of his feet extend beyond the door. As far as he knows, he is safe.
He’s asleep. All is well in his world. Never mind that at any moment those legs could be stepped on or the door to the kennel could slam shut on them.
But out of respect, his kennel has been positioned outside the hectic traffic pattern—one that is a reality because of the five kids that live in the house. So it’s something more than the kennel that ensures Boomer’s security.
1. It’s not always by hiding out in a physical structure that security exists. Often security comes in the form of respect and the extra protection provided by those who love us and have positioned us out of harm’s way.
Games People Play
Who didn’t have a hideout as a kid?
I can remember the days as a child when my three older brothers made a tent out of blankets draped over the clothesline. It was their fort—their hideout—and no girls were allowed anywhere near it. Nothing was more hallowed to me than my brothers’ hideout.
There was also the game of Hide-and-Seek. A variation in the game included the addition of Tag. Instead of the players being dubbed “out” when the seeker (named “It”) found them, the hiders ran for the “home base” once they were spotted by “It.” Ideally, the hider would reach the home base before being tagged, in which case he’d shout, “Home Free!” There is nothing more exhilarating than being Home Free!
2. Security, however, is not a game of hide-and-seek or in running to the safe landmark that establishes safety for a brief moment. Often security is found in not running at all, and in not hiding.
The Things We Hide Behind
We know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to our own safety. During a recent family gathering my grandson eyed my husband’s sneakers and, with a note of trepidation asked, “Are those Sketchers?” It was evident from my grandson’s facial expression, there was a reason I’d want to deny that they were. Further conversation informed me that in his high school, the ultimate aim was to own a pair of Adidas Yeezy shoes. Being seen in a pair of Sketchers was asking for ridicule!
Peer groups influence us, even bully us. I’m sure as a teenager I felt the pressure. Fitting in, being accepted was paramount. I wore penny loafer shoes—Weejuns (without the penny, of course!) and madras skirts, and my brothers wore Gant shirts and whatever else was cool. How you chose your clothes and the way you combed your hair mattered. Even then, kids wanted to adhere to an unwritten dress code.
I don’t think my grandson’s father will spring for the coveted shoe designed by Kanye West—the Adidas Yeezy, and my dad didn’t support my yearning to spend his hard-earned money on my peer’s acceptance, either. I think he held out the hope that I would learn to be secure in being my own person.
3. Too many things we seek are often nothing more than a false sense of security.
For years I visited in a maximum security prison as part of a ministry. In a conversation with an inmate, he urged me not to say anything that would cause him to tear up, let alone cause him to cry.
He was accustomed to the prison surroundings and knew all too well that he had to maintain an outward appearance of total control and strength. Any sign of weakness could be used by other inmates against him.
He had learned to negotiate the territory that represented his safety, his security.
Similarly, a survivor of human trafficking that I’m mentoring has recently moved out of the “safe house” where she has been provided shelter and anonymity by End Slavery Tennessee.
In a variety of ways, we all seek security and safety. Perhaps we’re like the puppy on the car tire in the photograph—beneath a shelter with a vantage point on the world—supposedly safe and secure from all alarms.
4. It’s a good idea to check for secure footing, and do it on a regular basis.
There’s a character in my upcoming book, Eastbound From Flagstaff, seeking what most of us seek: security. He’s Simon Hagan, and he’s running from a very tragic event. It marked him with guilt, and as a young man, 18 years old, he left home in search of a new beginning.
Simon’s a good-looking dude, tall, resolute, and typically outfitted in clothes that show off his moxie and personality. Fancy cars, the Mafia in the 1920s, dreams to dream—what’s not to hang your hat on but the future? Safe and secure. But who’s in control?