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A Place for Sanctuary. Daily Dose. (May 17 – 20)

Tuesday — “Everyone needs a sacred place,” Joseph Campbell reminds us.
Here’s the deal: This is a non-negotiable.
Where is your sacred place?
We do not go there merely to fulfill an obligation.
We do not go there just to be a good person.
We do not go there to impress people we know.
We go there because if we don’t go, we lose a part of our soul. 

Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” That’s a good one to bank on.

So, that’s what we did today. Gathered with my friends of close to 40 years here in Manasota Key, Florida, (for replenishment week), we allowed ourselves to be enchanted.
Giddy at the sightings of dolphins chasing down mullet for lunch, in awe watching gentle manatees play in the Gulf near our boat, silenced in amazement at a family of osprey (mom with her young and dad overhead), imperial and imposing in their nest above the sign that read “Manatee Zone. Slow speed. Minimum Wake.”
We pointed at dolphins and herons and egrets. And enjoyed a sunset that made us forget everything on our worry list.
Sitting on the beach my friend asked me about my worry list from a few years ago. “What was on that list? You know, the things that paralyzed you, made you think you wouldn’t make it another day?” “I can’t remember,” I told him. “I rest my case,” he said.

More than ever we need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration. When we’ve been through—or are going through—a time of upheaval, we need the permission to give ourselves the gift of stillness and sanctuary. To remember the sufficiency that is alive and well inside.

Wednesday — Invited to guest preach at another parish, Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor asked the priest, “What do you want me to talk about?”
“Come tell us what is saving your life now,” he told her.
Taylor writes, “I did not have to say correct things that were true for everyone. I did not have to use theological language that conformed to the historical teachings of the church. All I had to do was figure out what my life depended on. All I had to do was figure out how I stayed as close to that reality as I could, and then find some way to talk about it that helped my listeners figure out those same things for themselves.” (From An Altar in the World)

What is saving your life today? And my mind went to this from Fredrik Backman’s Every day the way home gets longer (a conversation between Noah and his Grandpa).
We have to write essays all the time! The teacher wanted us to write what we thought the meaning of life was once.
What did you write?
Company.
Grandpa closes his eyes.
That’s the best answer I’ve heard.
My teacher said I had to write a longer answer.
So what did you do?
I wrote: Company. And ice cream.
Grandpa spends a moment or two thinking that over. Then he asks: what kind of ice cream?
Noah smiles. It’s nice to be understood. 

More than ever we need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration. When we’ve been through—or are going through—a time of upheaval, we need the permission to give ourselves the gift of stillness and sanctuary. To remember the sufficiency that is alive and well inside.

Thursday — More than ever we need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration. When we’ve been through—or are going through—a time of upheaval, we need the permission to give ourselves the gift of stillness and sanctuary. To remember the sufficiency that is alive and well inside.
“Everyone needs a sacred place,” Joseph Campbell reminds us.
Here’s what I’m learning… there are sacred places, throughout the day, this ordinary day, where we can pause, pay attention, embrace the sacrament of the present moment, and allow our soul to catch up with our body.

This is from Kent Neburn’s book Small Graces. And it does my heart good… “I have walked a quiet path today… Do we really need much more than this? To honor the dawn. To visit a garden. To talk to a friend. To contemplate a cloud. To cherish a meal. To bow our heads before the mystery of the day. Are these not enough? If we should be so lucky as to touch the lives of many, so be it. But if our lot is no more than the setting of a table, or the tending of a garden, or showing a child a path in a wood, our lives are no less worthy.”
Amen…
Kent goes on… “To do justice. To love mercy. To walk humbly with our God. To bring peace to the old. To have trust in our friends. To cherish the young. Sometimes, it seems, we ask too much. Sometimes we forget that the small graces are enough.”

Yes… Allowing our souls to catch up with our bodies.
We all need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration.

Earlier today I heard this… from Cool Change, Little River Band…
“If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
It’s the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water”
Made me smile big…
So… this afternoon, we spent some time in one of the lagoons off the intercostal waterway (near Manasota Key), watching the Manatees mosey and frolic. Tonight we watch the sun, the color of smelted steel, dissolve into the Gulf of Mexico.

Quote for your day… I trust that, whatever the source of my life is, I am equipped for life’s journey. The depths out of which my life springs invite me to relax and find beauty all along life’s way. (Adapted from Psalm 23)

Friday — More than ever we need sustenance, places of sanity and restoration. When we’ve been through—or are going through—a time of upheaval, we need the permission to give ourselves the gift of stillness and sanctuary. To remember the sufficiency that is alive and well inside. When I see only scarcity, I miss the fact that every single one of us has been gifted with creativity, abundance, heart, love, passion, gentleness, helpfulness, caring, kindness, tenderness, restoration and a shoulder to lean on (for crying or for dancing, depending on the mood at the time). Stillness and sanctuary: This is the paradigm of sufficiency.

Many gifts of sanctuary and sacred space this week with old friends. I am grateful. Now on a plane back home to Washington State. And the weather there is a wee bit different than Florida.
This week thinking about sacred spaces and places for emotional and spiritual hydration, I remember how important books and poetry are to me. And the enchantment of stories.
One of my poetry heroes is Mary Oliver. And this poem, a reminder of grace and sufficiency and the gift of enough, is sacred space indeed… So, I’ll give Mary the final word this week.

I Worried
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.
Mary Oliver

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
I can’t make the
world be peaceful
I can’t stall tanks
from roaring down roads
I can’t prevent children
from having to hide in bunkers
I can’t convince the news to
stop turning war into a video game
I can’t silence the sound of bombs
tearing neighborhoods apart
I can’t turn a guided missile
into a bouquet of flowers
I can’t make a warmonger
have an ounce of empathy
I can’t convince ambassadors
to quit playing truth or dare
I can’t deflect a sniper’s bullet
from turning a wife into a widow
I can’t stave off a country being
reduced to ash and rubble
I can’t do any of that
the only thing I can do
is love the next person I encounter
without any conditions or strings
to love my neighbor
so fearlessly that
it starts a ripple
that stretches from
one horizon to the next
I can’t force peace
on the world
but I can become a force
of peace in the world
because
sometimes all it takes
is a single lit candle
in the darkness
to start a movement
“Lord, make me a candle
of comfort in this world
let me burn with peace”
John Roedel

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