Area of Refuge

Hi. It’s Kelley. It’s been more than two months since my last confession post.

The last few weeks, I’ve been wholly self-absorbed. My youngest squirrel graduated from high school. We sold one house and bought another (much smaller) one. We discovered none of our furniture would fit in the new place, so we spent hours shopping for a bunch of new stuff (which is not nearly as fun as it sounds) (first-world problems).

I went to NYC for several days, and I booked flights for a trip to Orlando and Atlanta in September. In short, since our last conversation, I’ve spent quite a lot of money and time on me and mine.

In the meantime, horrific things have happened: people have been killed because of whom they love, because of their skin color, because of whom they worship, because of the uniform they wear.

And I’ve written nothing about any of it. Nothing. 

I’ve scrolled past hopelessly arrogant Facebook commentary. I’ve ignored privilege-drenched lectures about compliance with authorities. I’ve ducked and covered through overly simplistic debates about gun-related violence. I’ve shrugged my shoulders at temporary profile pictures and sundry hashtags: #prayingfor[thetragedyoftheday], #weare[thelatestcitystruckbyviolence], #alllivesmatter[mostlyiftheyaremykindoflives].

Basically, I checked out. I kept saying I had no words, but the truth is, I didn’t have the energy to find them. Correction: I wasn’t willing to expend the intellectual and emotional energy to find them.

But then on Friday, Jack and I went to see a movie, and I lost the plot partway through because I got distracted by a sign in the theater. “Area of Refuge,” it read on the left. And on the right, “Exit.”

I’d not heard the phrase area of refuge before. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a safe place to hang out during an emergency. And the metaphor punched me in the face. Areas of refuge don’t just happen. They’re purposefully designed and constructed. They require more than prayers and hashtags. They take hard work. Cooperation. Conversation. Action.

But I’d been too lazy and distracted to do any of that. I’d chosen to exit the building instead.

Well… I’m back. And I’m going to talk and argue and act and write until we get this mess figured out.

Just wanted you to know.