I enjoy books and reading. Books give me comfort… books on a shelf waiting to be read or read years ago. I love a book that takes me on a journey to a new or even familiar land. I usually have a book or two going at the same time and with one or two on the side awaiting my return. One of the books* I am currently reading has me thinking about sacred spaces…
Where are the sacred spaces in my life?
Those spaces I deemed sacred six months ago, do they still hold for me?
How have sacred spaces shifted in my life over the past few months?
A coffee shop, a cabin in the woods, a church. These are my sacred spaces. In these spaces I can connect with others, share feelings, listen and be heard. In these spaces with people I love, and some I am just getting to know, I experience a sacred time when “the divine in me honors the divine in the other”. In these spaces I share a cup of coffee, the beauty of creation, or a song and a prayer.
Likewise, entering these spaces alone I can quiet the world around me and listen to the stirring of the Spirit within. Sometimes the busyness of a coffee shop is just the atmosphere I need to be still. Other times my sacred spaces involve connecting with creation or sitting in a time tested and traditional church sanctuary. Alone in these sacred spaces I can be still knowing there is a God, and She loves me just as I am no matter what.
I realized lately that I don’t have access to my sacred spaces like I am used to. The coffee shop is drive-thru only or closed, the cabin is out of state and I am not sure how far I should wander from home, and the church sanctuary is there, but missing about 75 people whom I would love to be there with.
So, I am working on creating new sacred spaces in my life, like the blue chair by the window with a small table where I can place my coffee or book. Here I comfortably read, talk with my wife, connect with others via Zoom, scratch a pup or two behind her ears, relax, or sit quietly and meditate.
My other sacred space is where we usually take our dogs for a walk. This was once just part of our daily routine but has now become a joyful ritual. Going down Union Street to Locust Park while breathing in the fresh air, saying “Hi” to strangers who have become dog-walking friends, and then making a left and going up Locust to hear the dog viciously barking (but is probably the friendliest pup), and then a left onto Main Street as we comment on the beautiful flowers by the blue house. Being out in the fresh air with the person I love and our pups is a sacred space to me these days.
As the days go on I am sure that my sacred spaces will continue to shift, and I need to be open to that. Although, I do look forward to being back in my good ol’ coffee shops, quaint cabin in the woods, and with you all in our church sanctuary.
So I invite you to think about your sacred spaces. Are they the same? Where can you create or find new ones? And all the while, be mindful of the Spirit moving within and around.
*The book I am reading that has me pondering Sacred Spaces is Baby You Are My Religion – Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall by Marie Carter. The premise of the book is that gay bars provided a space where people could “be seen”, find themselves, and serve a community in a similar way as churches have. “Religion has provided a space where you could find out who you are, what you are made of, how you wish to live, and for what or for whom you might die. This is what the butch-femme bars and surrounding communities gave to their participants.” (p.4)
The other book I am reading is Orpheus & Eurydice A lyric Sequence by Gregory Orr. This has me constantly asking, “Why did you turn around, darn it!?” and “What if Orpheus didn’t turn around what would their life together be like?”