i was blind, but now i see
the message of amazing
that calls to me from
that building on the corner
with the pretty windows?
that one with the
sign board outside?
that edifice over there
with the golden columns?
(c) 2010 T. Stewart
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.
I will put my sanctuary among them forever.
It is I, the Lord, who makes Israel holy, when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.
I am having a profoundly disturbing morning. Finding that peaceful sanctuary within or without is very difficult. My mind keeps wanting to push it away to protect my heart. As an ENFJ, a feeler, it isn’t truly learned until I have felt it. Intellectual pursuit only takes me so far, there is no integration without my feelings involved. My mind is protecting my heart by finding ways of being busy in my own head and with my own hands. But when I truly look at my heart, I know that I am profoundly tired. And that is where I need to let God and my loved ones in to build a sanctuary.
It is like each part of me has a little mini-sanctuary. The student sanctuary, the mother sanctuary, the wife sanctuary, but seeing the unified whole and seeing that the sanctuary is there where my heart and soul and mind coexist is to recognize that in this spot, I am tired. And this is where the sanctuary is. Crap. In my tiredness. In my pain. In my struggles. In my searches.
I was playing this video game which was the simulation of building a town. As I created “housing lots,” random people would come in and build a house on the empty lot. Then I would build all the things that a town needs…schools, parks, business lots for groceries, farms for food, etc. As I did this, the house on the lot would begin to glow, looking freshly painted. Sometimes it would even grow adding on another story and becoming bigger. The little tiny unkempt house can become a grand mansion if it is taken care of properly.
It seems to me, that this is the way it is with our inner sanctuary. With that place we let God in. With that place we let God’s agents in. When we finally recognize that it is there in our core, it looks like that unkempt house. It has been a little neglected and seems sad. But it is happy that we are finally seeing it. Now we have choices: move into that house and live in it as is, move into that house and take care of it, or simply decide that we are not going to live in the house and live elsewhere. Each of these choices has consequences and we probably move amongst these three states of being throughout our lives.
Right now, my house seems a little neglected. Like I forgot it was there. I have been so busy building schools and parks and other people’s houses that I forgot to take care of my own house. It is time for spring cleaning. But, the kicker is, I am too tired to spring clean. That means I have to let people into my sanctuary so they can help me. I don’t like that very much. If I let people in, then they can see that it isn’t all shiny brightness. There are some dark dingy spots. Even a cobweb or two (or ten). Fooey. Fooey. Fooey. I don’t like that at all. I might even have to admit that I need help.
But inside that sanctuary, with all its flaws, is something beautiful. Maybe I need to remember what is at the center of the sanctuary. God’s golden, flowing, everlasting, effervescent, enervating, peaceful, shalom. It really is ok. God is there, now I just need to let some of my loved ones* in to help me get ready for Easter.
*Loved ones are God’s action in the world. Interwoven in this entire conversation is the realization that God is not separable from each one of us or any part of creation. That I am only whole when we are whole. Right relationship with self and others. And that each part of creation transmits God’s grace. Perhaps, then, the real truth is not “letting them in,” but just opening my eyes and seeing that they are already there. Oy.