Any Place Can Be a Sacred Space
Finding time and space for oneself is difficult in our busy days. Even several minutes during a day can provide for our inner selves renewal, restoration, rediscovery and reawakening. Perhaps time can be found as you walk the dog, or ride the subway/bus/drive to work, or just sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet place and journal or meditate.
Any place can be the needed sacred space. Some prefer a special space that speaks to their being while others look out the office or kitchen window and let their thoughts turn to God. During such times when we concentrate on things of the spirit you might address a specific intent or question; you might actually withdraw to a special place in your mind if not into an actual space; your listening skills are attuned to God; and then you reemerge into the ordinary daily activities.
Phoebe H. Brown (1783-1861) was a poor woman with a husband who was an unskilled laborer and often out of work. She had several children and other relatives under her care. She took a daily time for herself, which was often a walk through her neighborhood and wrote about it in this poem:
I love to steal awhile away
from every cumbering care,
and spend the hours of setting day
in humble, grateful prayer.
I love by faith to take a view
of brighter scenes in heaven;
The prospect doth my strength renew,
while here by tempests driven.
I love in solitude to shed
the penitential tear,
and all God’s promises to plead
where none but God can hear.
Thus, when life’s toilsome day is o’er
may its departing ray
be calm at this impressive hour,
and lead to endless day.
I love to think on mercies past,
and future good implore,
and all my cares and sorrows cast
on God whom I adore.
Mrs. Brown’s language, though stilted to our ears, speaks of her need each day to have space for prayer, for tears, for dreaming, for comfort, for a sense of calm in her faith. We can imagine that some days she came to this time in joy and at other times filled with sorrow and burdens. No matter her condition, it appears she returned to her ordinary life refreshed and restored with a renewed faith.
A contemporary hymn writer, Shirley Erena Murray puts her thoughts on finding sacred time and space this way:
Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed:
Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see
all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.
May we all find the time and sacred space to listen to God and be the person God intends us to be.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.