This time of year, it can be easy to get a little down.  A little cold, the shorter days, the cold weather or the state of what’s going on in the world can bring you down.  So what gives YOU comfort? Or what is YOUR refuge?

     Last year, almost exactly a year ago, I was talking to a new friend, Courtney and often I ask people either how they met their spouse or significant other or how they

Here are my friends Michael and Courtney and her children. Their kindness towards one another is so apparent and I enjoy their company. They have found a refuge in one another.

knew that they were THE ONE? I am just curious and there usually is a good story.  Well, what I asked her was, “How did you know that Michael was ‘The Guy?’”  And she said, “After spending our first Christmas season together as a dating couple, I got terribly sick, I looked horrible, I felt horrible and he took care of me with such compassion.  I thought, if he has seen me at my worst and he still is interested, he must be a pretty incredible guy.”  I am paraphrasing and I am sure I left out some details buy I heard that story and knowing both Michael and Courtney, I can just imagine that scene and for me, that would have done it too.  It is not necessarily the romantic moments (with the flowers, fancy dinner, with you both looking and feeling your best) but in tough moments that life can throw you, when you see someone’s true colors.  Michael’s came through in that moment in caring for Courtney and knowing Courtney, she too would be there for Michael as well.  They are married now and they both are a refuge for one another and when I am around them, I want to be a better person.  They each just bring good energy to one another and those around them.  At first you might think, “Are they for real?” And they are.  I am happy that they found one another and happy to be their friend.  

     So what brings you refuge?  I try to look at my Sundays as a day of refuge to take time to worship, be grateful for the blessings in my life and to rest, refresh and recover from the week, before taking on a new one.  Of course, sometimes there are things going on in addition to that, but as much as possible I look forward to my Sundays for that reason. It’s important that we each take time in our lives to rest, refresh and reflect.  For me, I would have to say that my faith is first and foremost my refuge.  I have often said, “I don’t know how people get through the storms in life without their faith?”  The storms we have experienced as a family in life would have been much harder without our faith and it truly was that, that got us through illnesses, hard times and losses.  At those times, I almost felt as if something else took over and surprisingly a calm almost came to me when I needed it, a true peace.  I think when you have your faith first and forefront, all else can fall in place underneath and you can sort out the details.

     Aside from faith, our support people in our lives, our spouse, our nuclear family, extended family the close friends, Chief Friends, are comfort.  Sometimes it can be a phone call or a visit, a hug and just the right word or even maybe no words at all, just being there.

     Sometimes,  in addition, time to ourselves to rest, to think, to think what would help, gives us refuge.  It can be time with a good book, a nap, a walk in the silence, music, a good workout or a cup of tea.  When we are with ourselves we can hear ourselves think and reflect on what gives us comfort and refuge.

     That’s another good question in addition to how did you meet your special person or what made you know they were the one, “What gives you comfort?”

     I am reading, actually listening, as it is the audio, Ray Dalio’s book, Principles and he talks about making a list of your principles and I thought about that this week.  I am wondering how many people think about what their principles are?  Do they take time to consider that? It is in the quiet times and the times we are by ourselves that we can think those through. 

     It is very easy to get on the track of life and just motor forward.  Getting up in the morning and just plowing through our day once our feet hit the floor boards.  However, taking the time to think through our day, to plan to be intentional about how we greet and address those we love and those we come in contact with makes a difference.  How will we conduct ourselves when met with conflict or controversy? We cannot control what comes our way all of the time, but we can control how we decide to react.  Will we quickly react, or will we take time to assess what we are faced with?  Will we take time to look at a situation as an outsider before we react or will we instantly try to address an issue without knowing all aspects of it?

     Life is full of issues to deal with good and bad this is all just being part of the human race. Some issues are bigger than others.  A friend of mine uses an analogy to assess the importance of situations that arise and asks the question, “How will this affect me in 10 years, 10 months or 10 minutes?”  That IS a good question to ask and it allows us to consider the significance of and how we solve a problem.  Sometimes we vacillate, wasting too much time, over issues that will be insignificant in the future.  I have learned to try to only stress over the “Biggies” when it comes to problems or as Dr. Richard Carlson wrote a series of  books on the topic of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

     This week, like many people this time of year, I was fighting off a little scratchy throat and a minor cold.  Vitamin C, Zinc, drinking lots of fluids and resting as much as possible were all at the top of my list of priorities.  I did feel a little down.  What gave me comfort was my prayers, talking to my family, a nice phone conversation with a Chief Friend and texting Courtney, mentioned in the initial story in the opening.  I looked at photos on my phone of fun times and the faces of people who are special in my life.  The pace around here was slower this week, more time settled in a chair reading, reflecting and resting.  Honestly, it was nice.

     My challenge to you this week friends is to ask yourself, “What gives you refuge?”  “What are your principles?” And then use that information to your benefit to make as many days as possible, days that you can reflect on and say…

”It WAS a Great Day!”

Myself, feeling much better as this essay is competed. Thanks Courtney for the lovely photos…Wishing you all a wonderful week ❤️