Most of us have a deep-seated need for a safe person, a safe activity, and a safe place. I have very few safe-people in my life; that’s something with which I struggle constantly. [Albeit, I am a safe-person for many.] I have a number of safe-activities— hiking in the Tetons, photography, counseling, test driving a Jaguar c-x75 or a Bugatti Veyron; definitely not cooking. And I am honoured to hold a number of safe-places— a Lakehouse in NH, the Harraseeket Inn in Maine, Jenny Lake, and, once again, our home. Hopefully, you can name a few safety-zones in your life as well. For our concern here is just that— Safe Houses.
Rivendell, an elven dwelling depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is described in one passage as “a safe place surrounded by evil.” The visual images of Rivendell, both in Tolkien’s book and the subsequent movie, draw in the reader’s imaginations to be in such a place; to walk its vaulted porticos, to gaze out into the rich, deep forests and roiling waters as they surge over falls and crash on the rocks below. Rivendell’s elegant tapestries, portraying triumphs of the past, her flowing sheer curtain-walls, and comfortable beds all capture the traveler and bid him/her “Welcome! Within these walls and rooms and spires are you ever safe!” I’m ready for such a place. Are you?
All things being equal, we both still dwell in a place surrounded by evil. I wonder? Could it be our task to provide a safe house for other weary, down-trodden travelers? Genuine hospitality is a rare commodity in our society— unless it is paid for. Our lives are so FULL of, well, everything, that the last thing we want is company. Our homes have become our fortresses; our families, our havens (unless you have teenagers). Entertaining is simply too much effort. Considering the plight of our society, the economy, investments, extensive and disastrous marital relationships, and our own financial futures, has there ever been a better time to provide a safe house in a land of evil? Yes, we will have to sacrifice. That’s what giving graciously is all about.
It doesn’t have to be limited to the home either. A safe house can easily take root in our workplaces just as well. Bringing in a special desert regularly, encouraging co-workers practically, not merely with words, taking a workmate to lunch, providing refreshments for a critical meeting, or, just listening around the water cooler, all or any can become a foundation for a safe house. Then there’s your office. Do people gain a sense of safety when they enter it? Do you feel safe within your office? For many of us, turning our offices into safe houses is a distinct possibility. We just need to think about it more, and then initiate the change.
I’ve often wondered why Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; I go there now to prepare a place for you.” Is our role is to provide safe mansions for people here, so they’ll get used to the idea of being safe with their Creator later? We are neither called nor designed to escape this world. So we might as well get on with the task of providing people with those safe places we all need in times of turmoil and uncertainty.
Have a nice week,