This past week, Terry Hershey led a webinar about the subject of sanctuary. He talks about the importance for everyone of having a place where you do not owe anyone and where no one owes you, a place where we can be replenished and renewed. For Terry, it is his garden. For my wife Jan, it is our house, and most particularly, our bedroom. For some, it might be a special comfortable chair, or a particular walking route.

He also suggested that for each experience of sanctuary, there is a physical thing or action that serves as a portal to enter that sanctuary. For Terry, it is opening his screen door to go out into his garden and sit in his comfortable chair. For Jan, her portal is opening her “blueberry bag” of colored pencils and touching her eraser. Once she picks this up and begins to draw, her stress and anxiety begins to drain away, and she is refreshed and renewed.

As I have thought about how this concept works out in my own life, I realize that I need to cultivate my own sanctuary, because it is not automatic. The experience of listening to Bach’s cello suites, the Goldberg Variations, or some other good music, usually brings me nourishment and renewal, but I have to turn on the CD player or radio to have the experience. I get relaxation from watching the Rockies games, but that is not renewal, but more a distraction from the other obligations and pressures of life. A sanctuary is only effective if you actually enter it.

What is your sanctuary? What is your portal to enter that sanctuary? Do you go there often? Do you go there enough? I invite you to reflect on these questions, as I plan to on Thursday as I drive alone up past Leadville to pick up my mother who is visiting this week. I know that I need replenishment, and need to actively seek it out on a daily basis.

Loving God,

Thank you for offering us the gifts of sanctuary and peace. Help us to not neglect but cultivate these gifts that you give to nurture and restore us. Amen

David Erickson-Pearson

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