For the past sixteen plus years, I have had a safe house. I never realized that I viewed it this way until this weekend. Given my frequent business trips, I have had a place that I could go that was a second home. I knew I had a room there. When I was there, I felt like I was part of the extended family. In the middle of business chaos, it was a home away from home.
I have not been back for a couple of years. There was no intentional reason to stay away. Circumstances, business travel changes, and life conspired to keep me away. Coming back this weekend, I rediscovered two characteristics of the safe house.
There is a wonderful sense of peace and hope that pervades this place on Hoogstraat in Weesp. When I in this place, forces that traditionally create a sense of gloom, gray skies and winds, work differently. They take me to a place of reflection and rebuilding strength within me. The picturesque city feels like a small village; defined by wonderful canals, old churches, historical buildings, and a sense of warmth from people that call this place home. While old but not in the league of the oldest, the safe house was built in the early 1700s.
When I am in my room, there is a quietness that I never experience in a big city. It is still except for the quarter hour when the old church bells ring. The bells have always been a part of this experience. When they ring, it is as if I am being reminded that “God lives here, the streets are safe, God at your service from crack of dawn.” (Psalm 46.5)
As I wake in the wet grayness of a fall morning, I realize that there are other places I can go to that are safe. Each is a respite from the daily pressures. Each is a place where I can hear God with clarity. Divinity is everywhere. Finding a safe place to listen is a gift that is always within us.