Haruo Ohara Sítio Tomita, Londrina, Paraná (1955)
My word for the year, "Sanctuary," comes back to me, ironically (or not, as I should be planning my Sanctuary worship service for tomorrow), and I think that sanctuary must be found anywhere but here. It is beyond the realm of kids fighting bedtime, or messes to be cleaned, and lunches to be packed. It's beyond the worry for friends who are struggling and a prayer list that grows ever longer. Sanctuary certainly is on a sunny beach or a quiet retreat center. It is not within me, this muddled mess of busy, yet unproductive, chaos.
And then I remember a similar day last week, leaving work. I felt loaded down with an unfinished to-do list and more work to greet me at home. It was cold and growing dark, and the winter was wearing out its welcome as I hurriedly shuffled to my car. Noise outside penetrated the noise within, and I glanced up, started to see birds covering every branch of every tree surrounding me. The sound of their squawking was almost deafening and it would be a creepy omen for anyone, much less a bird-phobic person like myself. I walked faster, almost at a jog, but came to a stop when I realized their cries had stopped. The silence was as startling as the sound had been. For a second, two, there was a pause of anticipation, and then in one perfectly timed swoop, they all took flight, the only sound being a rush of air. I stood in stunned silence, in awe of the mystery and beauty of their graceful coordination.
Like the birds, I wish to be lifted up, to soar above the "shoulds" and find my way to the dreams in the clouds above. I long for the silence that brings peace after the noise, and to find sanctuary in the trees, in the sky, or wherever I may land. May I find sanctuary in the Creator of such lovely mysteries, of flight and endless sky, and even creepy birds. May sanctuary be found inside of me.