A wise woman I know has set aside a chair and end table in her home as her sacred space. She used to have a whole room to herself for this purpose, but as is the way with family life, her nearly teenage son claimed the room, and she shifted spaces.
This wise woman begins each day in her chair, centering her thoughts for the day, meditating and praying, connecting with the Creator. When she does this, she tells me, she is better equipped to respond to the many challenges each day brings. When she doesn’t take time for this, the day goes off kilter.
“Do you have such a space?” she asks. “Yes and no,” I reply.
The home of office I inhabit, long ago the pastor’s library in the parsonage in which my family lives, includes built-in shelves with leaded glass doors. On one shelf, I’ve accumulated many talismans or charms, objects that evoke emotions in me.
A lovely basket holds pinecones of all sizes, collected by my grandson and me. I’ve added pressed leaves that we’ve collected too. The pinecones and leaves connect me to the wonder that is life, in nature and this child.
A handmade ceramic tray holds stones etched with words like “peace,” “love” and “hope.” Nearby, a bronze angel, about 18 inches tall, holds a small tray onto which I place the stones, choosing words that reflect the message I need to hear.
A comfy chair as sacred space
Another small basket holds prayer beads, some that I’ve purchased and two that were gifts. I have a comfy chair next to those library shelves, and some days I take time to ponder what I’ve accumulated there. That might be called a sacred space for me.
Most days are full of activities that take me away from that chair. I try to remain mindful, however, of the sacredness that is in all that surrounds me. So I pause to marvel with my grandson when we watch an approaching storm and the giant pine tree in our front lawn, swaying in the wind.
I shake my head as yet another driver cuts me off on my drive to the office, offering up a silent prayer for the driver and the urgency—real or not—that his behavior suggests. A thank-you note appears in my mail, and I admire the generosity of spirit the writer shows.
I watch the birds and the bunny who inhabit our backyard, in awe of God’s creation. I sew and stitch, thankful for the space creativity offers for me to encounter the holy.
Dirty laundry and prayers
Even as I tackle the dirty laundry, I offer prayers for those who wear the clothes and for their daily tasks and learnings.
A quiet corner, marked by a comfy chair, a warm shawl and a lighted candle, might be your kind of sacred space, like that of my wise friend. While a part of me longs for that kind of sacred space, life pulls me in different directions now. Most days I bump into the sacred wherever I happen to find myself.
The means and method may vary from woman to woman, but the call to remain open to the sacred applies to us all. How do you encounter the sacred in your life?
Wanting to explore the concept of sacred spaces more fully? Women of the ELCA offers two resources on the topic: Sacred Spaces and Sacred Space as Metaphor. Both are available at welca.org. Follow the “resources” tab in the main navigation bar. Both are available free of charge, as downloadable PDFs.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA. This blog first ran as a column in Gather magazine.