refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble.

Does this means I can stop running? Both from pursuit and in pursuit-  either direction seeking escape from the specter of not enough. On one side of that fence, I am pursued by the feeling of being overwhelmed, where the guilt and the shame of ‘not enough me’ haunts me until there is no ’me’ left to pursue.  On the other side, I am desperate to find her, pursuing each intimate nook, each distant horizon for some clue as to who she might be, as if the life that I inhabit is not enough.


But what if I stop.  What might that place of refuge look like?


Of course, I know what she needs. It is always the same with refugees. Nurture. Warmth. Safety. Shelter. Belonging. Perhaps a new language. New languages are the most problematic, I think, because it seems that no matter how long it has been since you came to this place, you still think and dream in the language of your birth, your family, your culture. How does one integrate a new Love language so that it is who you are, how you think, what you breathe? I suppose I imagined that once she understood the meaning of the word, all would be well from that day forward, but it seems vigilance is vital to survival even here. Practice. Practice. Practice, every day because the refuge of Love becomes a safe harbor within not without…..


The problem with giving her a daily dose of the refuge of Love is that it can feel so abstract, contrived even. What might it look like in concrete? Is refuge a structure made of stone, enclosed and thus safe? Or is it a wide open space where there is no being trapped?  Perhaps a walled garden…. a garden as wide as the earth.

Eden perhaps.

As I imagine such a place of deep refuge, I wander about there to see if she is alone. I am surprised to note that it doesn’t feel quite like paradise at all until I see there are others, those who honor both the place and one another as sacred, worthy of reverence and delight.


Delight? That seems an odd word to appear in this dream but there it is. Perhaps I am learning to dream in this new language after all. Delight infers a beholding of one another with tender eyes, eyes that celebrate the beauty and wonder and humanity in the other. Delight infers curiosity not judgment, a ‘light’-heartedness. Is delight also an aspect of refuge, then? The missing ingredient perhaps.


I long for this place of refuge to be a concrete reality, not merely a dream or a daily exercise. I long for it to be palpable and external to the inner workings of my psyche, where I practice welcoming her into the warmth of nurture in my imagination each morning. But it seems we are all refugees here, speaking a language no one around us seems able to comprehend, and so we are driven to pursue the dream.



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