My last blog post was in November. This is affirmation of the intensity of the distraction associated with preparations for moving including the packing, the ensuing journey from California to Texas, and finally the unpacking and settling into my new home. At long last I feel all the disparate facets of my life coming together again. I’m grateful.
I’m grateful because I find it challenging when my sacred space is in disarray. One of the first things I had to do when the movers drove away was begin the search for the box containing my touchstones, prayer books, candles, and icons. It took several days of searching the mountain of boxes to locate what I had so carefully packed.
I felt a sense of coming home, of relief, and return to my center when I was able to unpack and arrange my sacred space in a small corner of my office in the new house. Now I once again have my prayer corner to retreat to in the early morning. This is my hearth, my sanctuary, my foundational cornerstone for each day.
A lesson came with my anxiety of feeling displaced and uprooted in the midst of moving, when I was living in the “in between” of my California life and the new chapter awaiting in Texas. Feeling disoriented and buffeted by the winds of transition and change is something that happens to most of us.
During my recent time of upheaval, I recalled something I once read that I have shared in other posts and articles over the years. Several years ago I was gifted a set of books called The City of God, the author of this 4 volume series was 17th century nun…Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain. In Volume II, The Incarnation, she tells us about Mary, the soon to be mother of Jesus, and her journey while pregnant to visit her cousin, Elisabeth, for counsel. She intimates that Mary was fearful about leaving her familiar surroundings, her sacred space, to venture out on her pilgrimage over the hills to Elisabeth’s door. The nun offers us this illumination to contemplate…
And as in all places She acted the part of a pilgrim on earth and of an inhabitant of heaven, and as She herself was the intellectual and most glorious heaven, the living temple, in which God had made habitation; so She also carried with Her her own oratory and sanctuary and in this respect there was for Her no difference between her own house and that of her cousin Saint Elisabeth, nor could any other place, time or occupation be a hindrance to Her in this regard.
The young girl, Mary, who would soon give birth to Jesus moved through her fears and trepidation and the perceived notion that her sacred space was a physical place, her hometown, her dwelling, her family home. According to Sister Mary’s telling of the story… Mary carried her oratory and sanctuary within her… no matter where she traveled, God was with her in body and soul.
In my time of uprootedness and disarray, I felt an attachment to the physical accoutrements of my spiritual life…. icons, books, and other sacred objects. Remembering the long ago writings of the Spanish nun, I am reminded to recall my oratory and sanctuary within… the Spirit, Love, and Peace that is God’s presence. I am reminded that no matter where I find myself on life’s journey, no matter how separated I may be from my little prayer corner and my touchstones… I am never alone or separated from the Sacred. The material world offers beauty to behold that will one day fade and crumble. But the soul offers that which is eternally present through all the transitions of this life and the ultimate transition that will come to us all.