“Shelter or protection from danger or distress
A place that provides shelter or protection
Something to which one has recourse in difficulty”
The Encarta World Dictionary defines refuge as:
“A sheltered or protected state safe from something threatening, harmful, or unpleasant.
A place, or sometimes a person, offering protection or safe shelter from something.”
We’re all subject to vulnerability. Sometimes, you actually need shelter from the storm.
But sometimes – or maybe many times – the “storm” is a misperception. And the urge to seek protection becomes a deeply habituated response. A way to avoid inner discomfort and distress. Or, something you find “unpleasant” or a subtle threat.
Often, what appears “threatening or harmful” may actually be a mirror telling us to look within. A call to untangle a deeply-seated misery.
Yet it may take many years and multiple ‘wrong’ turns before we are able to fully heed the plea.
Our choice of refuge may be a person, a place, a substance, a memory, an opinion, or a way of being.
It may buoy us up for awhile, validate our worthiness, confirm our right to existence, or numb the pain. But let’s not mistake temporary solace for a permanent, reliable state of affairs. It’s merely a stop gap measure that will eventually fall apart at the seams.