We all need our spaces, our places of retreat. Is it that corner where you curl up with a favorite magazine or book? Maybe there’s an oasis in the backyard, coffee shop, or park down the way that brings a bit of renewal sometime during the week? Perhaps in a busy household a mother of small children finds solace in the bathroom behind a closed door when sitting for a spell? During a stressful transition in my life I would drive to downtown Chicago on a Sunday just to “see water” along Lake Shore Drive. Yes, those moments are precious and necessary for sure.
For those with a special love to share one’s life, the hours alone together can bring refreshment in a whole new way. Take a moment to enjoy the words of Christopher Marlowe who invites his lover to come hither to a far away place . . .
Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods or sleepy mountain yields. And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle; A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull; Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold; A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my love. The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my love. The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Christopher Marlowe
Ahhh, the delight of romance! Is there any greater pleasure in life? Well maybe yet perhaps we can agree that there are very few? 😉
During these years of serious illness, my refuge is largely our home. For now what was once our retreat for romance and the stressors of life has been transformed into a place for a different kind of healing. Indeed we have created a safe haven from noxious exposures that can make me quite ill elsewhere in the world. I have become increasingly grateful for the work I had done a few years ago to decorate our dwelling place in pleasing colors with a lovely landscape to view out each and every window. Little did I know when we were settling in here that I would spend most of the past 4 1/2 years housebound. Little did I know that right when I started to get a little better, the comfort I found at home was about to drastically change. I really don’t like it. See what you think.
Three days per week a nurse comes dressed in medical garb to administer IV infusions. Our living room morphs into a hospital outpatient clinic for nearly 3 hours with linens draped over the furniture to protect me, to protect her. Packages arrive via Fed Ex at least one morning per week with bags of drugs on ice, medical supplies, and no presents, no card from mom. The pup with the big brown eyes is sequestered in a back bedroom lest her presence or fur flying through the air risk breaking the sterile field needed to access the power port in my chest wall. She whines and yelps for a time then drifts off to slumber as the drip, drip, drip of the IV bag empties into my body. Gratefully my nurse is very skilled and unassuming. She has the perfect temperament for all this stuff too. I just wish we were out shopping instead, ya know what I mean?
I have tried very hard to pack everything up afterwards and in between home care visits. The IV pole goes behind a door in a spare bedroom and the supplies fill a couple of bins and boxes in our office. The laundry quickly goes into the washer after Michelle leaves to diminish the fragrance of her favorite laundry soap that lingers no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Her shoe covers and all the used medical supplies get tossed into our makeshift trash bin and sharps containers. Within the hour after my “visit” ends there is no trace of the intrusion that these treatments bring to our private spaces (except for the wooden sauna that rests where an entertainment center once was, that is!).
Oh well. Thereafter with a foggy fatigue and soreness above my breast (from accessing and deaccessing the port each time) I make my way to bed for a very long nap. The seizure attacks are coming down giving way to a time of rest. At least I can retreat with a little more peace to the one place that remains undisturbed!
Perhaps one day I will find an internal space that refreshes when those around me can’t quite get it done. Oh wait, yes, there it is in the shelter of the wings of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He protects me and refreshes me from the trials, the troubles all around. With Him I can face another day with renewed strength and courage. You are my resting place, my hiding place, my refuge, my shield, my home. Sigh. This is good. This is really good, thank you my Lord Jesus. With you I am truly home no matter where I am. JJ
Psalm 142:5 (NIV)
5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”