Area of Refuge

About a year ago we relocated the office from a turn of the century building with charm and classic appeal to a brand new, paint is still wet, very modern building.  Only a 3 block move, but a hundred years in terms of AC, insulation, comfort, and amenities. The new building threw my clients for a loop (new, different, new paint smell, new parking) and prompted many questions from my clients.

Shield, Learn, Note, Sign, DirectoryIn the mindset of soothing others, I overlooked a very cool sign that one of my favorite clients highlighted.  The sign states “Area of Refuge” and points toward the stairwell, away from my office door.  This client keenly observed, “The arrow points the wrong way.” I hopped into my didactic role (which was dumb!) and explained what the sign means.  This client, far more nuanced and worldly than me, said, “You don’t get it.  When I see the sign and think ‘area of refuge,’ I think of your office.  Your office is my area of refuge.  We need another arrow.”

Since my client highlighted this perceived role of my office, as a place of refuge, I have consistently read the sign differently.  I have tried to treat my office in a different way, allowing for refuge when appropriate.  I have also highlighted the sign to others, and asked where else they can find refuge in their lives.  For my crew of clients, refuge is sometimes found in a closet, in a closed space, in a video game, or in music/art.  Many of my clients find refuge in silence.  And others find refuge in nature, or relationships with others, or church.

Where do you find your refuge, and does it come with a sign?

Many thanks to my client who highlighted what is clearly visible, right in front of my face, and yet seemingly so invisible until then.  Thanks for helping me to see!