Several years ago while out campaigning for re-election, I came upon a home with a small, internally lit cabinet sign posted by the front door. It said “Area of Refuge”. I later learned signs like this are installed in buildings to show people where it is safe to wait out an emergency. The dictionary defines “refuge” as “something providing shelter” or “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble”. I thought about the sign being on a home and I loved it.

I want my home to be an area of refuge. I want it to be a place where those who live or visit know they are safe physically, emotionally and spiritually. I do not want anything in my home to take away from the spirit I want in my home. I want a peaceful place. An area of refuge.

After my husband died, I found I yearned for a refuge inside the refuge. I needed my very own spot to heal. I gutted my bedroom, leaving my bed, a bench my husband made that sits at the foot of my bed, a wall mirror, a small clock, a wedding picture, a picture of Christ and an angel in Gethsemane, and small reading lamp on a shelf. That’s it. I did not need the dresser, nightstands, other wall items, bigger lamps or anything else-all of it is gone. The room was already painted white and light gray. My daughter made a white duvet cover so now when the sun comes in the window, the room literally dazzles with light. It looks like a monastic cell and I love it. I finally had my own area of refuge, but thought it needed a little more work.

A few days ago, I took a large leap and decided not to allow electronics in my room. No laying in bed reading my iPad. I read actual, paper books. I ain’t gonna lie, it is really hard to leave the internet at the bedroom door, but I am so glad I am doing it. My area of refuge is complete.

Note: In full disclosure, my cell phone goes in my room, but not as internet.