Saturday, July 16, 2011

a good hiding place

there's this little room under our front staircase.  it opens up behind the hall closet, behind the coats and bags and such,  and you'd never suspect it there.   a hidden room in an ordinary house.  i could have purchased our home on this fact alone.  thankfully, there were a few other selling features.   four sides of brick and a three car garage made my husband happy.  man things; solid, sound, safe.   the yard and creek (and dangerous laundry chute) captured the hearts of our children.  but i was stuck on the hidden room.  enamored with it.  i felt as if i had just walked into a  house hosting the perfect mixture of nancy drew and narnia.   a hidden room behind a enchanted forest behind fur coats.  and, seriously, it was for sale?  sold!

so we bought it.  and like anything we purchase, the hidden room was novel for a while.   the kids straightaway wrote above the doorframe, in blue marker, "welcome to narnia."   nothing fancy, just child's scribble, but it made their mother happy.  off and on, they will play in there.  it is something to show new friends and a place to pretend for a bit, but it is hot and small and even rather dirty.  i once sat in this low ceiling-ed retreat as guest of my youngest son. i noticed immediately, we were in the company of at least two spiders - closer to my head than i cared.  the romance of our hideout was quickly lost.   to be honest, it is really more a crawl-space, than it is a true room.  furthermore, if you were to enter this funny, little refuge,  the coats you'd pass through would be more on par with windbreakers,  rain jackets and maybe a couple of rarely worn, winter woolens.  there's nothing luxurious to pass through, whatsoever.   this room goes long unattended and we seem only to remember it when in need of a place to hide out.  and for that, it is splendid.  a hiding place.  a secret place.

when we moved into this house almost five years ago, our daughter, emily, was 11 years old and at the height of all things dramatic.  she told me once, if she ever heard a burglar (yes, she used the word burglar) in the house, she'd be down the stairs and inside of that room in a heartbeat.  her imaginative mind had it all figured out.  of course, the whole family was invited to join her if the need ever arose.    i am sure, at least for a while, she probably had some granola bars and a few juice boxes stashed in her safe-haven under the staircase.   she, too, had been reading her way through nancy drew and knew, even at 11 years of age, the value of a good hiding place.

regardless our age, we all need to hideout every once in a while.   maybe for me it has something to do with five children, but i have found myself, on occasion, in need of some serious escaping.  though i am enthralled with the idea of something exotic,  i usually have to settle for something a little more local - something within shouting distance.  one of my spots is a white porch swing hanging on our patio below the deck.  it has become a good place for a quick get away.  a place to swing my body and catch my breath.   it is quiet down there.  and still.   (that is, if the kids aren't perfecting their backflips on the trampoline 15 feet away and if bella isn't digging in her sandbox on the deck up above).  this little swing of interlude calms me.  it quiets the heat of  too much within.  i realize this escapism may sound odd coming from a woman who has actually chosen a large family.  and i wouldn't change my household number one bit -  i adore the entire unruly crush of them.  but there are times when i need to breathe in a space apart.  alone.  there are moments when i need to put on my running shoes and turn on my ipod and go out my back door.  somewhere else.   separate.  this remained true in my rendezvous with cancer.  more than ever, i felt the need for escape.  the need for a good hiding place.

often, rooms and swings and runs can help in the pressing times of life.  but they are not enough.  they can hide us only so well, carry us only so high and take us only so far.  at some point it is not nearly enough.  we are exposed and we are brought low.  and it is at this low point we need to go deep.  deep into the only place of real safety and true calm.  deep into my Father's arms.  "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."  ~ psalm 32:7   oh friend, i know we all don't go immediately to this place.  most of us try other things first.  i struggle so much.  all the time, in fact.  i'll somedays go to target before i'll go to the Lord.  i'll somedays hide in my closet before i hide myself in Him.   uugh.  i am embarrassed to type such weak confession.  but it's true.  often, i have to hear the burglar in the house before i head to my hideout.  i have to be in real crisis before i search for real shelter. 

so this solitude-seeking woman will continue to escape to her porch swing below.   and she will sneak out her back door with running shoes on and ipod in hand...and she will probably head over to target more than she should.  and this will help for a bit.  i will snatch stolen moments in secret places and i will catch my breath and it will be good for an small hour or so.  but if i want life giving breath and soul-deep cool, i will have to be truly hidden... in a good hiding place.  hidden in Him.

"for in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me 
in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock."  ~ psalm 27:5

"keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings."  ~ psalm 17:8

1 comment:

Simply LKJ said...

I love this Jody! We had a very similar place in a house I grew up in, nothing fancy, but a safe haven nontheless. We often run to our hiding places, when we really could stop, look deep inside and find it right where we are, in the arms of our Lord and Savior. Hope you are all enjoying this last month of summer break!