As a child, I loved the world of medieval Europe. I read countless books, fiction and nonfiction, about that era. I reveled in romantic stories about brooding castles, valiant men, and talented, beautiful women. My family toured England when I was in my teens and we visited a number of castles, along with the Museum of London, where I spent the entire time in the medieval section, enthralled with all the real-world artifacts that helped bring that era to life for me.

This past week, as I’ve begun to delve into my Lenten discipline of writing poetry, I began reading Psalm 31 one morning and, almost immediately, verse 3a caught and held my attention:

Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold.

I was immediately transported back to some of the British castles I’ve visited over the years—but then I realized that castles in the Holy Land would be very different places. Rather than being a cold and damp refuge, a cool castle would provide welcome relief from the stark desert sun.

I also realized that my world is nowhere near so black-and-white as it once was. I’m not called to hide away, to protect myself from the world as I once imagined, and as the psalmist clearly believed. Further reflection brought forth the following poem:

Chilly stone fortresses

Romantically brooding

Over my childhood

Transformed into

Welcome escapes

From noonday desert heat.

No longer crouched behind strongholds

You call me vulnerably

Deeper into community

With nothing to fear

Except forgetting to lean your direction.

What childhood images have been transformed in your adult life?

In what ways is God still a stronghold in your life? Where are you being called to be more vulnerable?

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