After he read Saturday’s post about my brother, my dad took me on a walk down memory lane. He reminded me of my favorite hiding place as a toddler: our gooseberry bush. Now if you know anything about gooseberry bushes, you’ll recognize that the respite they offer isn’t particularly comfortable. In fact, it can be downright painful given that these bushes are beset with spiky thorns.

I’m told I certainly wound up with my share of scratches, but my choice of hideaway made it extremely difficult for any adult to forcefully retrieve me. Better yet, the berries offered a built-in source of sustenance, so I could stay for hours. Although this habit was likely formed by opportunity and coincidence, in hindsight it was brilliant, particularly for a toddler.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in this vignette. The trouble is, I’m not sure which perspective to take. On the one hand, I see a lesson about the best, safest shelter being in a place that requires some hurdle-jumping to get there. It might cost me some effort, but that same expenditure of resources can also serve as a deterrent to and protection from others. On the other hand, does it really make sense to cloak ourselves in a prickly mantle of thorns when the discipline (or comfort) of others actually may be what we need? I suspect there is truth in both perspectives.