Place of Refuge

Matews - Bucharest, Romania
Entered on March 9, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

A few years back while climbing up some beautiful mountains in the Transylvania region, (yes, I know what you’re thinking, but this is not a Dracula story) I almost stepped on a small snail. I looked down to see this frail creature making his way gracefully out of his shell and decided to pick it up. It was petrified at first when I set it in my chubby palm. As I stayed still observing it, however, it again started making it’s way out of the shell; first his antennae, then his gooey body. It seemed confused; my hand was unexplored terrain for it. My curiosity heightened as I moved my finger towards its body, desiring nothing more than to feel it (kudos to everyone who actually believes me). In an instant the snail retreated to it’s shell. “What a dumb creature!” I thought to myself as I set it down on the ground, “Can it be any more boring?”

I had underestimated that little creature’s intelligence however. Somehow it had grasped my intentions and quickly headed to safety. I could have killed it in the shell if I wanted to, but big bad me didn’t have the heart. I let him live his life a little longer. Soon I realized that I am not much different than that antisocial snail.

Ever since I was four years old, I have been living in Romania with my parents and siblings. I have always been close to my parents; I love them and respect their authority over me. They have led me down a good path and our relationship has always been based on trust. My parents, ever since I was little, have allowed me to make my own choices on certain issues (what I want for dinner, what video games I want to buy, if I wanted to go to my room for three hours or would prefer a spanking). They never dictated my life, but they trained me while teaching me to make wise decisions.

But as I entered my puberty phase, suddenly my parents became two old grouchy brutes who didn’t know what they were talking about. Just like the snail, I started poking my head out of the shell, exploring what was available in the world. I felt like my parents were holding me on a leash. I remember one time that I was listening to Black Dog in my room full blast. My parents came in and told me to turn the music down. Rebellion kicked in, and in my ignorant teenage mind I thought they had no right to dictate how loud my music should be. Well, to make a long story short, I now make sure my parents are at least five miles away before even considering turning up my music.

As I now exit my childhood and am off to college, I, like the snail, will have complete freedom to leave my comfort zone and go explore new realms and to do pretty much whatever I want (even though my parents do have a financial grip on me). When the evils of the world come after me, however, I am certain I will not be left unprotected. Just like the snail retreated to his shell where it knew it was safe, the lessons my parents teach me, the love I received from them, and the morals they instilled in me will be my protective shell where I know I will not be messed with.

So I believe in a place of refuge; somewhere where you know you can always rely on; where when things get ugly, you will be safe.