Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days to Finding Sanctuary (#31 days of sanctuary day 1)

If you're around me longer than an hour, you'll probably hear me utter the word "sanctuary".  It's become like a mantra for me, and is my one word for 2013.  In the chaotic rush of life, I long for that quiet space of rest and renewal.  I am lonely for connection that goes beyond the incoming message ding of my phone.  But as much as I desire it, I often don't make the space for it.  Although I view it as essential to my ministry as a university chaplain to some of the busiest students I've ever known (and even named my weekly campus worship service Sanctuary), there are always other things to fill my time and "more important" tasks to take care of.  It's only after I'm exhausted and at my breaking point that I stop and heed my own advice to others and seek sanctuary.  If I'm truly honest, I'm usually heeding the voice of my husband who urges me to step away for a bit after I become persistently grumpy and prone to random bursts of tears and yelling.

So here I sit in Panera with my seasonal squash soup, salad, and the setting sun in my eyes, on an evening break lovingly provided by my husband.  It always takes time just to get the feel of it again as I habitually check my phone and scan social media for anything I might be missing before I settle in to true rest.  I fidget, I snack, I attempt to multitask, even though I've never been good at that.  I find myself diving back into work before I'm even aware of it.  Why is it so hard to rest?  Perhaps that's why God made taking Sabbath a commandment.  Otherwise, I doubt we'd see the value in down time.

I had a spirituality professor in seminary that assigned us weekly times of "otium sanctum" (Latin for holy leisure).  We were responsible for discovering and practicing an activity that drew us out of our regular life and into joyful communion with God.  Some of my favorite times weren't very "spiritual" on the surface like driving at night with the convertible top down, but I came away renewed, with a greater sense of who I am and where God is in my life.  It's so easy to forget, and yet it doesn't take much to be reminded.  Just a moment to stop and breathe, and an activity to take us out of the routine of work.  I realize my longing and need for more of that.

At my age, I realize that I'll never be a prodigy, and anything I want to do will take a lot of practice.  That's why I'll be blogging daily during the month of October, a sort of spiritual and reflective practice as I seek sanctuary.  Will you join me?  I'd love to hear what you find along the way.

Day 2: Sanctuary walk
Day 3: Stop the glorification of busy
Day 4: Finding calm in chaos
Day 5: Letting go
Day 6: Sanctuary spaces
Day 7: Running as sanctuary
Day 8: Breathing space
Day 9: Sophrosyne
Day 10: Sanctuary as self-care
Day 11: Being a sanctuary for others
Day 12: Healthy Rules
Day 13: More and Less
Day 14: Shine
Day 15: What you might discover on a prayer walk
Day 16: Sabbath and Sanctuary
Day 17:  Being a Sanctuary for my children
Day 18:  Beyond the now
Day 19: How NOT to find sanctuary
Day 20: Say "No" to Say "Yes"
Day 21: Home
Day 22:  Church Sanctuary
Day 23: Slowing down
Day 24: One Who is Not Busy (repost)
Day 25: Enough
Day 27: Rest
Day 28: Rituals
Day 29: Boundaries
Day 30: Tinker Day
Day 31: Taking off the masks

1 comment:

  1. "It always takes time just to get the feel of it again..." So true! I always have such a long list of things to do, which can never all get done... Although I'm good at putting them off, I'm not so good at putting them out of my mind. It may be called "holy leisure" but it takes some discipline!

    So glad you're doing 31 Days, too! I look forward to seeing all your posts this month! :)