At a time where so much about the world doesn’t seem safe or predictable, it’s easy to understand why we seek refuge. The picture above is my *practically perfect, adorable* granddaughter. Late one afternoon, feeling a little overwhelmed, she asked her dad to put on music (was it Coltrain, I wonder), donned her headphones, got a favorite book and took herself to the sofa! I was struck by her self-knowledge and wisdom in self-care.
More recently, I’ve been re-reading Rick Hanson’s book, Just One Thing. He writes
Refuges include people, places, memories, and ideas_ anyone or anything that provides reliable, sanctuary and protection, that’s reassuring, comforting, and supportive, so you can let down your guard and gather strength and wisdom.
Some of us find refuge in a nap; others in watching a favorite movie again; yet others in a Zoom dinner or cocktails with friends. Religious ritual often provide sanctuary. This week on Story Corps a young solider in Afghanistan tells about receiving his “Meemaw’s” best pound cake. As he and his platoon buddies sit down to eat it, he reports having tears in his eyes. Never at home, he continues, did the cake EVER taste so good. He was taking refuge. . . in cake, and, of course, his grandmother’s love. Food is such an important refuge for most of us.
I decided to take note of what refuges I am giving myself recently. Are they adequate? Do I need more? To determine that for myself, first, take note:
- I’ve been watching movies about Churchill to think more about resilience;
- I’ve been listening to TED talks from people who inspire me;
- I’ve been playing hymns on the piano;
- I’ve been looking back through my photo albums at July 4th family pics;
- I’ve been walking in the early morning while it’s still quiet outside;
- I’ve been baking** (even though two people don’t NEED this much!).
As you make note of your own “refuges”, be sure to note those of your family members too. Could it be that gaming is a refuge? How about social media?
Scriptures speak about seeking spiritual refuge which sounds hauntingly familiar. Consider Psalm 91:
“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust….he will save me from deadly pestilence….You will not fear the terror of night … nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness nor the plague that destroys at midday….
This week, gifted from a friend’s farm box with too many yellow squash, I found a recipe for Yellow Squash Bundt Cake. This is how it looked in the magazine
It certainly didn’t turn out the way I’d expected, a blow to my culinary skills! I think I’ll have to rename the recipe “Humility Cake!” What do you think?
Even so, I CAN tell you that it was an EXCELLENT “refuge”!!! Yum.
May all your refuges be so comforting. Let me know how you’ve been finding strength, wisdom and reassurance.