Two of the boys I was babysitting today were making a fort. For no apparent reason. It wasn’t in a position to see the TV from, there wasn’t anything in there to do, and you actually couldn’t even see once you were inside.
But they spent about two hours making and re-making and tweaking it. I was one of the weights holding down the blankets that made up the roof of the fort. Literally holding down the fort. They didn’t even really spend much time in there except to see if the ceiling was high enough to crawl around in. I guess the whole point of the fort was either to have fun (and get frustrated when it fell down) while making it, or to have a place to hide.
A place to hide. Ah.
When I was in 4th or 5th grade, I drew out my dream house – in great detail. The outside was nice, pretty plain, but once you got inside each room had a theme. And there were secret passageways between rooms and slides that led to the pool. There were beds that were shaped like UFOs. There were little rooms under the floor. Places to hide.
In addition to all these references to hiding, I have always wanted a tree house. Not so I could pretend to be Tarzan or the Swiss Family Robinson or a monkey, but for the thrill of being up high over people’s heads in a little room, camouflaged in a tree. To have a rope ladder to pull up once I got up there so it could be my little secret.
I’ve mentioned before that my sister and I had a club that met in my closet. This just further illustrates my point.
I need a place to hide sometimes. And what am I hiding from? I guess it depends on the day, but sometimes I want to hide from the little messes I make (literally and figuratively). From the to-do list. From misunderstandings. From decisions. From unproductive days. From dirty laundry. Not that hiding makes them go away, but maybe that it gives me the strength, courage, stamina, or resolve to face what I hide from.
And that it provides a respite. A little moment away from the world. Like times of prayer, true conversations with God where I’m not just reciting or listing needs or trying to sound good to myself. Those are true times of peace. It’s like hiding.
Hiding myself in God. That must be why the Bible calls God our refuge. That’s a far better term for it. Refuge.
God is our refuge and strength. Maybe the strength part comes from taking refuge.