I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of refuge – what does it mean; is there really such a thing as refuge; if so, what does it look like? Of course, it’s a huge psychological “tell” to acknowledge that the idea of refuge has become very important to me. I’m a 60 year-old man who has dealt with a series of challenges – some of my own making or weakness, some largely outside my control. And now, as the security and warmth of my marriage is becoming history, of course I’m thinking about what’s next and whether I will ever feel safe and tranquil again. And the problem is, I really have no idea. No idea whether the future offers security and satisfaction, and, no idea what the heck a “safe” refuge might even look like.
There’s a line from the Eagles’ song, “Lyin Eyes,” that I absolutely love. It goes like this: “I guess every form of refuge has its price”. Zing! Simple and clear. And ain’t it the truth? When it comes down to it, we never really get something (especially something we really want) for nothing. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that this wonderful thing we are enjoying was really a gift; ours to enjoy just because we deserve it or are simply fortunate – but we ARE fooling ourselves if we think that way. It was paid for or acquired at some sort of cost, guaranteed.
I am writing this while sitting at the Seattle airport, on my way to the town to which I’m about to move. My feelings are a bit jumbled. On the one hand I am grateful for the opportunity presented by my new job: a fresh start, the chance to do something meaningful in more than merely a financial way (I’ve been hired to run a non-profit that is doing good, important work); the means to move to a fresh, attractive place I hope will be good to live in; the many new people I will meet and with whom I can build new relationships. Simultaneously, I am nervous, even scared; not sure what my daily life will look or feel like and whether I can get used to it; uncertain that I will succeed, professionally and personally, as I’d like. Oh, and I’ll miss the places and people that became the backbone of my life over the last 34 years. You get it.
I know, I need to stop being a baby and embrace the future. And I will, but it’s a process. That brings me back to the “refuge” concept. Of course it has a price. But in this case I wonder: Has the price for my refuge already been paid – it’s been a tough last 10 years or so – or, is there more, in form(s) I don’t know about, to be paid in the future? Yes, yes, yes, obviously I am completely adept at driving myself crazy with this stuff. I am blessed and cursed with a good, active mind. But change is always challenging – and this monologue is clarifying for me just how big this change is for me. I AM embracing this new life and opportunity, but it’s a huge change, with lots at stake. A little certainty, some clear refuge (with a known price tag) sure would be nice. Or maybe I just need to get better at dealing with uncertainty.
Thanks for listening. I’ll let you know how it goes. Ciao…