It’s about the time of year when I am recounting the rich lessons of 2009. I think living in human flesh on this planet is asking the fundamental question, “How did I get here?” So I do a loving review of the past year so that I can consider God’s faithfulness and see how many new ways I have learned to see the world and my life.
I am learning to treat life gently because it is so very precious. It isn’t that I had some great revelation; I am simply reliant upon grace. I am simply learning the joy of grace. That question–“How did I get here?”–leads to the question, “How can I become more of a co-creator with God than a kicking-and-screaming, looking-over-my-shoulder-so-I-don’t-‘get-it’ martyr?” So, resolutions come to my mind. How can I do better? How can I strengthen my best gifts? How can I feel Christ’s presence more deeply in my life?
These questions are the arrows that lead me on my quest to learn how to create and maintain sacred spaces. It’s a way of preparing a place for what I am truly seeking in my life. And what I truly seek is grace.
I know I am not alone. We all seek this intimacy with God. The futile struggle to control life mirrors the spiritual reality that we cannot control our own transformation. This truth is similar to what the Buddha would describe as a distraction, an illusion. Given my Westernized impulses (and being third generation Latino), I certainly struggle against the idea that there are things that simply cannot be understood. I have learned that the way of grace is one of these.
I consider myself well versed in the values of human enlightenment and intellect. Using the mind to be open to grace is as likely as trying to hatch an egg without heat. It takes the heart or the soul to “nest” grace. I know this, yet in 2009, I spent so much time trying to understand grace that maybe this is my first resolution for 2010: I will try to remember not to try to understand how grace works its magic. And I think my second resolution will be to give up on the idea that reason is all that we have made it out to be. Because while there is a time and a season for all things, there is also no way to understand how God’s grace works.
These resolutions can only be kept for moments in any given 24-hour day, awake or sleeping. But I am going to keep up my sacred space practices because I think that the silence and breath found in these spaces help me remain open to the possibility of being less from my mind and more from my heart. And sacred spaces give me ways to bodily reflect my heartfelt desire … to know Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection.
Happy New Year!
Inez Torres Davis is director for justice, Women of the ELCA, and has an interest in how having personal sacred space can complement our communal worship and practice.