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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

A Hiding Place

You’ve probably heard a lot about fighting your way through life.

I think this is the commonest advice you will ever receive when things go south.

There will always be things that happen to knock the air out of your lungs just as there will always be a person hovering around you somewhere to scream in your face: “Get up and fight!”

I’ve heard my share of “Get up and fights!”

But I’ve never heard anyone say to me, “Lay low, and this will also go.” except, of course, for me.

That’s my current go-to advice.

You may think I’m a coward, but there are so many times when I know I’m not equally matched with my opponent well enough to take them on, that’s when I know I can’t pull off a David and Goliath thing. I feel it is safer for me to crawl into a corner than get completely brutalized.

Christians may say the devil is a defeated foe and he trembles when God’s children pray, but that wasn’t the case with me. I stood terrified before the devil. And so would you be if you what he was capable of. I knew I had no power, and I couldn’t put up a fight. So my mom fought on my behalf.

There are so many things I just don’t have the courage to face. I know I won’t be able to face my parents’ death or my sister’s. I won’t even be able to face my own death. Childbirth, illness, tragedy, disappointment… the list is endless.

And as a human, once you’re acquainted with pain, real, raw, bone-chilling pain, you will go to any lengths to avoid it. For instance, my sister won’t stop warning me against getting a bone broken because she knows what that pain feels like.

We warn each other about pain all the time. But I’m here to give you some advice, which is so counter culture you might just ignore it. Go hide.

Find yourself a hiding place and just go there and be by yourself.

When the day is done, the work is over, and people are no longer screaming for your attention, go to your “safe” place and just be real quiet by yourself.

I started watching sermons so I could escape from facing my everyday reality. I love to hear pastors talk about how much God loves us, and how He’s waiting to be with us. He’s made preparations for a life together with us. It gives me a sense of peace and quiet. But the peace doesn’t last forever.

You’ll have to get out of there eventually.

That’s because as beautiful and easy as it may be to shut yourself from the world and escape into this peaceful fantasy, it isn’t real. It’s a release, an escape.

Our culture may value underdogs trouncing the giants, but frankly, I know that doesn’t happen every day. Most of us get walked on, ill-treated, disrespected and there’s nothing we can do about it. We just make the most of what we have and move on to the next day, hoping for better.

While winning and bouncing back up have their euphoric “highs”, nowadays they are so far between it’s almost negligible.

So I came up with a way to cope.

It’s called building a hiding place.

In my hiding place, the world is better because I'm in charge. Every variable I cannot control is eliminated. Every word I do not like or feel that is hurtful, dies unspoken. It’s a world where there’s bliss, quietness, and complete peace. Everything is peaceful.

But the hiding place doesn’t really solve my problems.

I wake up the next day and they’re still there.

I just get some respite.

So while all other fighters in my acquaintance are proud of their battle scars and victory trophies, I know what it feels like to be weak, helpless, and utterly in need of someone else to fight battles on my behalf.

I can’t.

I don’t want to.

And it may seem like I’ve given up, but I am not ready to fight again.

If you feel the same way, I encourage you to build a hiding place. That’s how people escaped bombing in World War 2.

And as a world we’re presently facing much more than we can bear.

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May 02, 2021

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

Emily Dickinson

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