Sacred Spaces in the Everyday
by Melanie Hartshorn, Spiritual Springs Community, Fort Bend, Texas
I am a new member of the NLT and I serve on the Spirituality Committee. One of our tasks is to gather the reflections to be used in our twice-yearly publication – Dimension Connections. Our theme for fall 2022 is "Sacred Spaces.” Just what is a sacred space? One source defines it as a place set aside as holy and used for worship, prayer, meditation, and rituals. The first sacred space that came to my mind was the Garden of Eden. If ever a space was sacred, this would be it! Interesting how God gives us an example of a sacred space from the very beginning of creation.
As I meditated on this concept further, I began to think about the sacred spaces in my own life. Some are obvious, such as the chapel and sanctuary of my local parish. However, there are also many other places that can become sacred on any ordinary day. I have a space on the side of my house that receives no direct sunlight at all. But far from being a gloomy spot, it has become for me a sacred space. I have placed a fountain there and planted the area with different types of plants that thrive in shade. I received a beautiful statue of St. Francis as a gift, and it has found its home there along with a statue of a praying angel. Each morning, first thing, I turn on the fountain. The peaceful sound of running water and the cool shade elevate my prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of another day.
My Spiritual Springs Community met for quite a while via Zoom during the height of Covid. Even though we were not in the same space physically during those Zoom meetings, our connection itself became a sacred space. We are very grateful to be meeting again in person. These gathering places are always made sacred as we break bread together, share each other’s victories and joys, and sometimes sorrows and tears. In our shared thoughts and prayers, we encounter God! As we depart, we know with certainty that we have been in a sacred space.
Just recently, my husband and I were blessed to share an evening with some old friends from high school whom we had not seen in over 30 years. It was a joyous evening! As we bowed our heads in prayer, I was overcome with the realization that this little table in a restaurant in Houston on an ordinary Thursday evening had become for the four of us, a sacred space!
These are some of the places that are sacred to me. Some exist for just a brief period while others are much more permanent. They all are places set aside which enable me to feel God’s love and presence. What are your sacred spaces?