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Building a Refuge within Me



by Harriet May Savitz

I think of a refuge as a place where my soul can escape to rest. I must be able to go there any time I choose. In the middle of the day or night. And find the peace I desire. My refuge keeps disappearing and I must build another each time it does. From the beginning. And I do. Because a refuge is something I must have. My soul knows this.

Today I must build another refuge. From the bottom up. When the telephone rings I must not answer it. There is always an answering machine to tell me if it is an emergency. And then I will respond. But for anything else, I am not here. I am building my refuge.

And if someone knocks at the door, they will not find me at home. Though I might be. The shades are down. The door closed. The world is outside and I am inside. For that moment. Or for that hour. Or if necessary, for that day. Those who must enter my home, have a key. For now, my soul is resting. Reenergizing. And it must be alone to do what must be done.

There are business matters that need tending to, but they must also wait. It is difficult for me to let them go. But I know I cannot do them when I'm not at my best. My soul is tired. Over-worked. Over-stressed. It will give these matters leftovers, not enough of what they deserve. And so the computer is turned off and business matters turned away. They will wait. If one believes it, all else can wait.

It is difficult to build my refuge. Life keeps getting in the way. Worry and stress try to convince me each time that it cannot be done. There is no where to run, I sometimes think. No refuge will stand up against this outside world.

But I know better. My refuge will. And has.

I know of others who have their own escapes. It could be a house down at the shore where they might run for a few days, where they cannot be reached, where they just sit and stare at the ocean and listen to its music. And hours drift by. And all else floats away as if it never existed.

Or the mountains. Where time becomes unimportant and healing possible. Or a friend's house. Where there is serenity. Understanding. A place where the world outside is not allowed inside. Though it might knock at the door. Try to kick it down. Some find escape on a golf course. Others in a library. One small spot where the soul might rest. Might gain a haven.

I have built my refuge by the sea. And in the mountains. I have built it in many places. But now I do not have to travel distances to reach it. Nor seek others to supply it. When life beats me up, and knocks me down. When my soul becomes bruised and aches for repair.

I again begin to build my refuge. Brick by brick. Within me.


Excerpted from More Than Ever: A View From My 70s by Harriet May Savitz. Copyright © 2004 by Harriet May Savitz . All rights reserved. Excerpted by arrangement with AuthorHouse. $12.95. Available in local bookstores or call 888-280-7715 or click here.

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