A Mobile Cave

A person reading a book inside a tent made of books
Photo Credit: Joel Robinson

Where do you find refuge? Who or what finds refuge in you?

I had been thinking a few weeks ago about my dog. He humors me in so many ways, but one of those is the way he acts according to his "denning" instinct (the instinct dogs have inherited to seek caves or other places of shelter). My dog seems to find and make shelter anywhere, including acting as though a desk, a big pillow, or a wheelchair is his den home.

Yes, that's right, a wheelchair. He will crawl under a wheelchair and fall asleep beneath it for a nap. If the person in the wheelchair begins to move or rotate, he continues to lie there as though the wheelchair is his very own mobile cave. That's exactly the thought that went through my mind as I watched him engaged in this a few weeks ago: "How funny. He's made a mobile cave."

Oddly enough, I listened to a podcast that same day where the speaker (Erwin McManus) used the same exact phrase. "A mobile cave," he said. This was in reference to the courage to create, the ways in which human beings actually craft the future by materializing that which they can imagine and dream. In Genesis 4:20 of scripture, Jabal is referred to as "the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock." The speaker pointed out that, prior to Jabal, people didn't really live in tents. He had to imagine such a dwelling and then materialize it with his own two hands. It's pretty incredible if you take a step back and think about it. What he made could shelter himself and other people from storms. People around him must have thought he was crazy, in the process.

As a matter of point, I also believe that all of us have a need for safe refuge and a place to have our own "mobile cave." We need safe zones. We want to see humans at their boldest and most courageous, yes - but have you ever noticed that people who are bold and courageous have a security about them, while those who cower in fear often do so because they don't know that they are protected and safe and secure? They don't know that there are arms like towers protecting them, that wherever they may roam there is a mobile cave of sorts that holds them and "hems [them] in behind and before" (Psalm 139:5). I don't believe that they need to experience this refuge before they can ever act with boldness or courage, since sometimes we discover what holds us when we take those steps despite our fear. Sometimes we also are emboldened by the direct experience of refuge, however, as well. It can be a harbor for healing.

There are ways in which we need and seek refuge for ourselves. There are also ways in which we provide refuge to other people and/or "host" ideas that find refuge within us. This relates to my first blog post, VOICE - there are voices that echo and resonate within each of us. In the same way, there are voices, ideas, beliefs, etc. that find refuge within us. Some of them feel foreign and are unwanted guests; some of them feel at home when they shouldn't. Others have run away from home; still others feel at home when they should. Where do you find refuge? Who or what finds refuge in you?

Inspiration: "The Artisan Soul: Voice - Makers of Fire" by Erwin McManus

 Isaiah 32:1-8

 "We Are Broken" by Paramore


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Dr. Parke is a therapist who provides therapy to high-achieving teens and college students in-person and online in California. Cities served include Fullerton, Brea, and Yorba Linda; zip codes served include 92835, 92823, and 92886. © 2023 Jackie Parke, Psy.D. All rights reserved.