Find YOUR Refuge

Trees draw us with their comforting branches and gentle whispers.

Trees draw us with their comforting branches and gentle whispers.

I’m linking up with the Five-Minute-Friday group. The word is supplied and we write! This week’s word is “Tree”.
Go!

When I was a little girl I found refuge in three things; reading a good book, writing whatever came into my heart and sitting up in our sycamore tree. Sometimes I would take some paper, or a book, and combine my passions to create the best sanctuary.
I used to climb the tree to escape my chores, hoping my mom wouldn’t think to look up and knowing that even if she did, it would take me awhile to climb back down and finish my jobs. From my perch up high I could look all over the neighborhood and sometimes I could see my dad driving home from work long before he neared the house. I climbed up through the shade to soak up the sun and I swayed in the wind pretending I was flying. I daydreamed and practiced conversations and sang solos to which the only the leaves could applaud.
My tree was my haven.

Obviously moving away from home and growing up made my retreat obsolete. But I hung onto my reading and my writing and added music and walking in nature to my “me time.”

One of the hardest parts about being a caregiver to a long-term catastrophically ill patient is that you lose many of your refuge options. I found myself without walking time, unable to concentrate on reading, frozen by my inability to write and with nowhere to sing my heart out. And climbing a tree? Not an option!

After figuring out that I had many of the symptoms for PTSD I set out to reclaim my sanctuaries. I made sure to walk, even when I didn’t feel like I had the time. I played favorite songs and sang out loud in the car. I breathed more deeply when anxiety hit and learned to create my tree-top experience in my own head in whatever environment I found myself.

I don’t climb trees anymore–but I found myself, just the other day, while raking piles and piles of beautifully colored leaves, blessing my Creator for making majestic and sheltering trees. I thank Him for sheltering me in His arms when life gets rough and I’ve learned to rely on Him to soothe my soul, wherever I am located. I’m blessed to be able to recreate the serenity I learned while perched high in the branches of my sycamore tree.

-Carol
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  • What beautiful memories and beautiful images you share here. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself and your heart with us today.

    I love the idea that you are able to recreate a sanctuary based on your childhood experience. More of us need to learn that art of finding peace in our circumstances as only God can create. But we can participate in that process by learning to pause. By learning to seek His face. By learning to seek a sanctuary when we need one.

    Thank you for this reminder.

    • Thank you Judith. God has been good to help me learn this! 🙂

  • We have very similar places and Abby’s of refuge – except mine is a maple tree 🙂

    • Nice! It really doesn’t matter so much where, as long as we have one, right?! My neighbors have a maple tree that is just stunning this fall – LOVE it!

  • Sorry that was an auto-correct error. I meant places and acts of refuge.