Yesterday I visited our community library for the first time, and discovered what might become a sacred spot. It is on the second floor, a large room filled with tables and couches, plenty of locations for tapping away at your laptop or curling up with a book. The room is dimly lit to make it relaxing, and large windows provide a glimpse of lots of older trees. It reminded me a bit of the big library at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., where I spent my graduate years. I read dozens of books there across three years and grew significantly as a person.
I was only in there for a few minutes yesterday, and yet I felt myself smile at the thought of spending gobs of time in there working on writing projects. I pushed myself into those future moments, and felt close to the desires of my heart. There was a calm and a stillness about the place. It was a library, a place of learning, and it seemed well-organized and well- run and others seemed to non-verbally agree that it was sacred.
(Best thing of all: There was no sign of the little old guy with bare feet who used to frequent my former library in Central Florida, the one who was hard of hearing and always screaming at the library staff about some mosquito that was biting him. Beyond the painful lack of self-awareness, I was most disturbed at the lack of shoes. I wondered whether he had mosquito welts on his over-exposed digits.)
I’m thinking a lot about sacred places right now as I read through the India portion of Liz Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Write. She discusses the difficulty of quieting the mind, of sinking into deep meditation and communing with God while harnessing the mind away from all the things it wants to plan, worry about, brood over, solve, etc.
I resonate with this struggle very much. I wonder how much I ever truly pray, and how much of my prayer life is simply working yet another strategy or process. I catch myself approaching my soul as an organizational development consultant rather than as a hungry child seeking the divine.
The most difficult place of all to locate a sacred spot is within me. That’s way finding an external location such as an upstairs room in the library that can stimulate an inner focus is so pleasing. Sometimes you need an aesthetic jump start. I hope I get back there soon.