When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was to build a fort.
I built them in trees, underground, and abandoned buildings.
But my very favorite fort was built in the home. (fewer stickers, bugs and critters) I used chairs, cardboard, blankets, sheets and curtains to create walls and ceiling.
After the fort was completed, I would go into the kitchen and mix peanut butter with jelly until it was smooth and silky–then spread on white Wonder Bread. I put these gooey, glorious sandwiches in a paper bag and retreated to the security and comfort of my fort.
With only one way in and one way out, once inside, it was as if no one could touch me. It was a curious security in the dark.
Not a black-dark though, it was a smoky, translucent sort of dusk. Any good fort builder knows of which I speak. It made for the perfect nap—a kind of sleep that can only be had in peaceful times.
My world of pretend and fantasy came alive as my fears of life subsided. I laid back, stared at the roof, and dreamed of grandiose things, like how to get out of homework and figuring out girls. I was cared for, comforted and cradled by the close, furry walls that told me that all would be well. And well it was, at least for the time I had been allotted–Until the sheets had to go into the washer, or my sticks, twigs and pine branches gave way to the weather and age. The biggest reality check–I had to do chores again and go to school.
Each fort, each time, seemed to be enough though. I made it another day and believed that I could face all my monsters (parents included). On rare occasion, I shared my fort with brother or sister, friend or foe. Somehow, I knew that though I had made the fort, it wasn’t all mine. Sharing was fun, especially when we would have an enjoyable time. Everyone needed a good fort and I wasn’t beneath showing them how to make a fine one. I can even recall sharing half a sandwich. That, my friend, was no small thing, and I did not make a habit of it.
All grown up now for such a long time, I still need a fort, and I found one custom fit for me.
The Good Shepherd–my new fort!
“You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.
You let me rest in fields of green grass.
You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life.
You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.
You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows.
Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life,
and I will live forever in your house, Lord.”
Glenn W. Harrell 11-17 http://www.openhandspublications.com