Everybody needs a safe harbor, an essential stronghold in which they are safe from the onslaught of the enemy. I'm not sure how others live their lives or exactly what their struggles are like, but when I need my safe harbor...THE safe harbor...I'm almost always running full out. Every muscle in my body is working in concert to propel me forward. I never slow down. I never look back. My bare feet meet the cool earth like they have a thousand times before leaving my small, hard footprints in my wake and a fine layer of dust over my feet and under my nails as I wind my way through the back alleys of the city toward the gate. My calves are smudged and the hardened rippling ridges of muscle carry smears of mud and scratches where I've ripped through the underbrush while tearing through the forest on my way here. My thin skirt is torn up the edge of my thigh but it makes no difference for it has made it easier to lengthen my stride as I finally break free of the city walls. This city where I have found no refuge. I'm in the open now. Vulnerable in this green pasture where animals graze idly by, ignorant of what comes their way. I bolt through the middle of the herd without slowing. Goats. My captors spill from the archways and gates on foot and on horseback, but I have a head start. And I know where I'm going. I recognize the terrain. I run even harder now. My lungs are tearing at my throat and my eyes water, but I must keep going. Arrows fall all around me--some glance off my skin drawing blood. I cry out, "Help me!" but the answer, it is not apparent. I see the river and make for it's banks, running through the water like a nymph. Clambering up the far, steep bank, I gain some ground and continue to run soaked and dripping wet, muddy rivulets of water coursing down my face. I see the cliff not ten yards away and increase my pace still more. A docile mass of sheep reclines in the lush grasses. Some sleep. Others eat. They pay no attention to me as I run to the edge of the cliff and without hesitation--I leap!! And land in the strong arms of the Protector who has been waiting for me on the ledge below. And that is how it has always been. I have always had a safe harbor...but it took some getting to. It wasn't without fighting a battle or two or taking a beating that I reached that stronghold. Nevertheless, the stronghold was always there and I've carried the hope of it with me in my heart wherever I go.