My Safe Place
Before I left for my summer holiday, I took part in a philosophical discussion at the wine shop across the street. The topic was “Where is your safe place?” A “safe place” was described as a place where we find peace when the hectic pace of our daily schedule and life’s challenging situations confront us. It can be a place that you physically go to regularly or the memory of a place you have visited and your thoughts return there when you seek an escape.
When I was a child, my “safe place” was the serenity of the woods, among the trees. As I grew older, that place became the sea or the ocean. The salt air and the noise of the waves brought me a certain calmness, even when a storm caused the waves to pound against the shore. During these past summer weeks, I spent my holiday visiting my safe place on the sea. Several terror attacks left my safe place unstable. The presence of machine gun carrying soldiers made me feel uncomfortable. Neatly hung signs with instructions of what to do during a terrorist attack brought the reality of what is happening in Syria closer to home. What happens when our “safe place” no longer feels safe? Religion has always had a history of conflict and there have always been wars. What’s going on in today’s world is nothing new. Our electronic age brings the information to us in seconds, complete with all the visuals. We ask ourselves what we can do or where can we go. Are we safe anywhere?
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he gave them the Lord’s Prayer. Before doing so, he instructed them to “go to your inner room” (Matthew 6:6). Our inner room is that place deep inside us that is secret and ours alone. In that room, we can personalize it and arrange our space the way we want too. We can go there when the demands of our everyday routine become too much; when we don’t understand the world around us; when we are feeling lonely or sad. But is it a “safe place”? Jesus instructed his disciples to close the door and pray to our Father in secret. It is here, in the serenity of God that we truly find safety.