The girls, later joined by two of their brothers, made a cat house out of a packing box. The youngest was a cat…the others worked hard on her home.
What started as a box on the ground later became a home on a soft place with “windows”, “doors” and handmade decorations. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a home a refuge over the last year. My journal pages are filled with thoughts and ideas. (Sidenote: Sally Clarkson shared a post on Ann Voskamp’s blog last week on this topic too. A few of you shared it with me. So good. Click here to read it.) Creating a refuge for my family and others is near the top of my list of priorities. As I watched the kids create a home, a refuge for their pretend cat I tried paying close attention to the things they deemed as important. When they were done, I asked all the kids what things make our home feel like a refuge to them and what are things we could do a better job at in creating that refuge. Their list was both deep and humorous.
One of my boys suggested we post knock-knock jokes on the walls. He said that would make people laugh more and be grumpy less.
Another suggested we give guests a gift every time they leave our house.
They told me it is good for their friends to know that it is “no big deal” if something gets accidentally broken and that I should keep making chocolate chip cookies because their friends REALLY like them. They told me a home that is a refuge is a home that:
- lets people spend the night
- has a lot of comedy
- isn’t too big…it is good to feel cozy
- lots of playing happens
- there are pets and dart guns. With extra bullets.
- it feels peaceful even when it is crazy
- it feels safe, happy, comfortable and loving
Then my 8 year old added one more thing. He said, “it is important that you know it is okay to feel sad too.” His words caught me off guard. In all my thinking about creating a refuge for my family and others, it never crossed my mind how important it is for others to know it is a safe place to feel sad. He nailed it. A refuge is all those things…a place where you are safe to feel happy, comfortable, silly and sad.
I’m curious what things make homes feel like a refuge to you. When you think of a home that you’ve walked in and it felt like a refuge – what made it feel that way? What are the practical things and the abstract things that made you feel like you could just take a deep breath and a break from the world outside?
I’ve have a lot more blank journal pages and would love your ideas and insight.
For now, there is a good chance some knock-knock jokes will be framed and hanging in my house soon. Less grumpy sounds good to me!