Refuge And Other Forms Of Security…

Author, Colleen Fraioli
Author, Colleen Fraioli

My kind friends offered to help me sort through my parents’ kitchen after the big move. They scrounged empty banana boxes from Save Mart and together we packed up the remains of the day.

I found myself wanting to hang on to the “non-valuable” pile; cheap plastic glasses, cracked cereal bowls, old Tupperware circa 1965, and especially the chipped roast beef platter from Sunday dinners growing up in the parsonage.

But there is no room for all that in my house. Besides, my parents are still alive at 92 and 93, and I have heirlooms coming out my ears. So what’s up with the lump in my throat? And why is it so hard to walk away from the discard box?

Letting go feels like I am losing something foundational and irreplaceable. This move to assisted living is making me feel unstable, and my heart doesn’t seem to have a landing place.

Maybe that is the crisis. My security has latched on to sameness. There is comfort in the familiar, especially when it has been a refuge.

I look up “refuge” in my thesaurus. Many restful images surround this word. Retreat. Haven. Harbor. Resort. Shelter. Hiding place. These words describe how I’ve felt when we have prayed together in this home over the years.

A verse has been running through my mind during this process; as the movers came on Monday, as I talked with a potential buyer on Wednesday, and now as I say goodbye to the little things,

“GOD is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

…not the home they are leaving, or the dishes, or the roast beef platter.

It seems like I’m being asked to decide where I will find refuge in the middle of this big change. Maybe I can try and recreate the past… God plus everything staying the same…God plus the stuff that makes me feel good… God plus my parent’s faith. Or, I can release the props and let it just be God. Rearranging the environment doesn’t rearrange Him.

My head knows I can trust the Changeless One, It’s my heart that needs a little coaxing. It feels vulnerable and uncertain to leave the things. I grieve all they represent. But when I think about it I realize they are symbols of His faithfulness. Trusting the source is way better than trusting the leftovers, when you’re… just living the thing.

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