Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: REFUGE (08/29/19)
- TITLE: The Ocean Tide
By Shawn Greer
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That shift from peaceful contentment to strangling chaos can happen in the blink of an eye. One moment, life is calm and I am focused. Without warning, I am overcome with chaos, lost in the wave of confusion, desperately grasping for air.
I donâ€™t plan it. I usually donâ€™t even see it coming. It bursts out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning, striking swiftly and aimlessly.
They can be terrifying, those moments of chaos. Itâ€™s as if the strong, fearless, faithful woman I know suddenly disappears, overshadowed by a weak and terrified mouse who has suddenly forgotten how to swim with the tide.
It can be nearly impossible to find solace and refuge during those moments. I want to fight and force my way out of the chaos, out of the dark water pulling me further and further down. But doing so always stirs the water more, shoving me down to the ocean floor, away from the fresh open air I am so desperate to find.
When I stop fighting against the waves and just float with the water, the chaos calms down bringing me gently to the surface, and eventually to the shore.
Sand in my toes, sun on my skin, and the quiet, peaceful sound of waves crashing against the shoreline â€“ waves that just moments before were drowning me, body and soul - become the very solace and refuge I so desperately seek.
Refuge is a funny thing. It is a place of protection, a harbor from something that seeks to devour. It can be a physical structure that closes out the world and calms the mind, or it can be the open air of an empty beach and a vast ocean. Which is simply to say that refuge can be a frame of mind that comes with a peace in knowing that whatever is going on around you â€“ you are safe.
I wish it were as simple as believing in God. Belief alone does not provide refuge. We also have to trust. Trust is a hard thing to give. It requires letting go of the very things we cling to so desperately. It requires giving up the safety of what we know and letting someone else carry the burden. To find refuge in faith then means first believing and then trusting. As terrifying as that may be, it is often the only path to peace.
And peace is the greatest refuge of all.
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