Andrea Howe

Writing a story earlier this week, I noticed a line in a police document. A suspect in a criminal case told police, according to the document, that he ran “because he was scared because of all the happenings in the world.”

There’s a lot happening in the world, and even more talk about what we should or shouldn’t do about it.

I don’t intend to wade into that fray, but I think it’s important to put things in perspective.

No one is guaranteed a full day on this earth. Every day’s a blessing. Rounding the corner on 55 years in a few weeks, I thought about that.

Even in my sheltered life, I found myself in a crowd held at gunpoint on a college campus 37 years ago. I ran down the block, which wasn’t very smart, but I escaped harm.

A year later, walking at night on the same campus, I escaped an assault attempt by clocking my assailant with a wooden clog, and running away.

Back in my hometown a few years later, I impulsively stepped in front of a drawn knife and yanked it from stranger’s hand when he was threatening to stab someone else. No one was harmed, and everyone calmed down.

I have learned, with the wisdom of maturity, that not putting myself in dangerous situations greatly reduces the chances of being in danger.

I pay attention to my surroundings and take precautions when I’m alone.

Sometimes this works.

Sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes it’s still OK if it doesn’t.

Case in point: Last Friday evening I made a trip to Indianapolis.

Traveling alone, I wasn’t worried about my safety, but I did keep my wallet close to me and my phone at hand. I wore comfortable shoes and looked around when I got out of my car.

I decided to get supper a little early to avoid big crowds and get back to my room to do some writing.

I like to “people-watch,” but for some reason, I chose to sit with my back to the table across the aisle from me. I was thoroughly enjoying a plate of chicken and pasta when, KER-THUNK, I was whacked upside the head.

I didn’t know what hit me, but when I found out, I had a good laugh.

I can add surviving an attack from a flying sippy cup to my list of escapes from danger.

I turned my head and heard several people draw in their breath. Right behind me, in a booster chair, sat a chubby baby, beaming proudly at his sippy cup tossing skills.

This kid will, one day no doubt be a discus hurler.

His mother apologized profusely.

“Don’t worry about it,” I told her, adding how much I really miss the days of watching my own sturdy baby boy send sippy cups into orbit.

I enjoyed the rest of my meal and walked back to the parking garage, feeling a little bit of sticky orange juice in my hair as I did a little reconnaissance of the area before I unlocked my car.

On my own, I could easily work myself into a tizzy thinking about the state of this world.

But I really hold on to the promise in The Message version of King David’s Psalm 27:1 — “Light, space, zest— that’s God! So, with Him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.”

Even flying sippy cups.

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