safety[Editor’s note: today’s post comes from See-Through Life Student Book for Guys: What Happens When Guys Get Real, Get Honest, Get Accountable by Craig Gross and Adam Palmer]

There are two different kinds [of safety]. There’s the smart, wise kind of safety – like buckling your seatbelt when you get in the car or putting a protective case on your smartphone – and then there’s the more reactionary, fear-based kind of safety – like never driving anywhere or only having a landline.

I’m talking about the first kind.

To me, the concept of safety has nothing to do with curling up under the covers and refusing to interact with the world at large. Nor does it have anything to do with keeping your mouth shut at all times so that you don’t unintentionally say something that might possibly make someone mad (though this might be a good strategy at times).

When I’m talking about the kind of safety that accountability provides, I’m talking about the kind of safety that sets you up with confidence so you can enjoy life to the fullest. This is the safety that you feel just before you get strapped into a roller coaster – the comfort that helps you relax and enjoy the thrill of the ride because you know that you’re going to make it to the end all right.

We’ve all seen those movies or TV shows where some lost party of people is forced to wander through some mysterious wilderness or thick jungle in search of either an ancient or magical artifact or because they’re trying to make it back to civilization. Inevitably, our group of heroes makes their way through the dense foliage until they come across a rickety suspension bridge. You know the kind I’m talking about: the bridge made up of just a few ropes and some moldy wooden boards that are somehow stretching across a scary-high drop (a drop which usually ends in a rushing river or pile of sharp rocks). Someone from the group will always test it out first, someone else in the traveling party will assure them it’s safe, and then, when the person gets halfway across, a board will always break out from underneath their feet and fall down, down, down, taking forever to reach the bottom. Meanwhile, our hero looks on with wide eyes and their breath held. Does the same fate await them?!

Now, compare that kind of nerve-rattling, literally shaky experience from the world of fictional movies and TV shows to the types of bridges we actually experience in the regular world. From highway overpasses to interstate bridges to pedestrian footways in public parks, our world is full of bridges that we cross and never think about. That’s how secure they are. That’s how confident we are that these bridges will support us and carry us on our way without incident.

You may remember a recent incident from the state of Washington, when a semi truck carrying an oversized load of drilling equipment was traveling on Interstate 5, crossing the Skagit River on a bridge that had just recently been inspected. Unfortunately, the driver of the truck accidentally made contact with the outside trusses that supported the bridge, causing a portion of it to collapse and plunge into the river below. Thankfully, no one was killed in the incident, though three people were hospitalized before recovering from injuries they sustained after falling with the bridge into the Skagit. The bridge was closed for about a month, disrupting the local economy and transit through that region.

The reason you may remember this incident is because it was news. Why was it news? Because bridge collapses in the United States – especially on well-traveled roads like interstates – are so incredibly rare. That’s how much we have come to depend on them, and how much confidence we have in them. We don’t cross our fingers anytime we drive on an overpass – we don’t even pause before crossing to check it out with a cautious toe. We just keep doing whatever we were doing.

The rickety suspension bridge that always gives way in the movies? That’s a life without accountability.

The actual kind, the bridge with failures so rare that they’re news? That’s a picture of the safety that [a see-through life] provides.

Accountability gives you unflinching safety and support, the kind of safety that lets you journey through life knowing that someone you love is backing you up, no matter what – and that you’re doing the same thing for them. There is no comfort that compares to this kind of safety.


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