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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

TITLE: Don't Hide


I closed the garage door behind me, and then I slammed the entry door into the laundry room. I felt a twinge of the summer heat creating humidity, so I scurried from window to window and shut them and flipped on the central air conditioning. I wiped away the tear and started to unpack the groceries. This was a common occurrence in my life. I felt safe, now. I was HOME. Nothing could hurt me, here.

My home is my sanctuary, my retreat from the world. We live in a large yellow house that looks like the Amish just built it. Inside my house is a barn, literally. It was dismantled in rural Ohio and reconstructed to form the wooden beam skeleton to my living room, kitchen and entry way. We live on five acres away from everything. No trip is quick and no one just drops in. We have dogs that rest on the huge front porch next to the rocking chairs. Our ducks are friendly and will greet you as you drive down the driveway from the gravel road. The wild flowers along my walk, which my dad calls ‘weeds’, provide resting places for brilliant yellow birds and stunningly beautiful butterflies. Deer meander through the backyard and give you that ‘you are bothering me’ look, if we invade their grazing. I love where I live. It is a true blessing from God.

In this blessing however, I have learned a lesson about life.

You see, for some reason, which has yet been revealed to me, I find myself encountering the most difficult people that have been placed in my corner of the world. Not just once in awhile, but on a frequent basis, my people skills are tested and tried beyond reason. My heart gets broken, my feelings get hurt, my patience gets tested and my ability to forgive is a daily occurrence.

When the heat gets turned up and I think I have experienced all the frustration, irritation and aggravation that people can provide, my natural tendency is to run and hide. So many times after a brutal encounter with another ‘people’ problem, I would turn off the ringer on the phone, I avoided daily email interaction, I threw the mail on the counter and refused to climb in the car unless it was for toilet paper or tea bags (you know the necessities of life).

I would hide from the woes of the world. I did more than rest in my retreat, I retreated from the places that God wanted for me to go and avoid people that God would desire for me encounter. After all, God had given me the perfect surroundings to become a hermit, why shouldn’t I oblige? With closed doors, no phone calls and no interaction, my heart was safe.

Do you realize that wounded people wound others, because they do not know any different? In my attempt to heal my own hurts and comfort my own soul, I disobeyed God and avoided the call He had placed on my life to assist those who were broken and wounded. I pretended to be a two year old. Maybe if I hid my head under a blanket, they wouldn’t see me anymore and leave me alone.

I bowed my head one day and said, “Dear Lord, forgive me. Thank you for the people you place in my path. Let me see them, as You see them and help me to realize that they have hurting souls. Help me find a way to minister to them and reassure me that You can protect my heart in the process.”

God has been faithful. I am sharing iced tea on my front porch with several of my difficult encounters from the past. God is like that.

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This article has been read 783 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brandi Roberts08/08/05
Oh how I can share those feelings! I would LOVE to be a recluse. Unfortunately, God has a sense of humor, and in answer to my prayer for a new house, he put me smack dab in the middle of a town (I've NEVER lived in town), and to add a little nudge, it's a town that my husband and I promised ourselves we would never move to. Thank you so much for sharing. I enjoyed this.
Nina Phillips08/08/05
I can relate exactly, but sometimes I count it all joy to find fellowship with those who encourage and lift us up too, without constant draining. Enjoyed reading your entry! God bless ya, littlelight
Shirley Thomas08/08/05
It's good to know that I am not the only one that those recluse feelings sometimes. It's also good to know that our God always wants the very best for us, even when we don't recognize what the best is. Thanks for sharing your heart!
Gabrielle Morgan08/08/05
You have captured well the feelings I often have experienced living on 8 acres in Australia. You like me recognise your "retreat" state and I am sure this helps to counteract the feelings and overcome them. Great writing.
Debra Brand08/10/05
Very good lesson.
dub W08/11/05
Although consumed in personal pronouns, the essay contained a valuable lesson, a good edit and this one is a winner.
Beth Muehlhausen08/11/05
This is great; you captured the flavor of your country life so well. Living on a farm of 26 acres with an old brick farmhouse and an old dairy barn myself, I can feel your circumstances. I, too, know what it can be like to run and hide, and then be called back into the front line!!! It seemed to me there were some shifts in verb tenses that made this a bit choppy, but adjusting for those is my only suggestion. Otherwise, the message here is wonderful!
sallie sisk08/13/05
You touch my heart.I'm a hairdresser and I do relate to this. nellie
Theresa Kissinger08/13/05
God is like that! If He weren't we'd (me too)all be reclusive and...lonely. After reading all the reviews I think someone should have written on reclusive writers finding writing is their retreat.
Karen O'Leary08/14/05
Wonderful story with a life lesson. Thank you for sharing it with us. We are richer for the experience.