Sanctuary

When you get so overwhelmed in life and you just need to feel as close to God as you can get for comfort, where do you go?

Do you sit in a church just staring at the communion table or the cross or the pulpit from a pew? Do you go outside in God’s creation, the woods, a park, the lake or ocean?

Personally, I prefer to go outside. I might just sit up against a tree enjoying the natural sounds around me of the birds and the squirrels, maybe a fox if I’m lucky. Sometimes I just sit there and enjoy the beauty and think “wow!” Sometimes I take my Bible with me to read of others who turned to nature to feel closer to God than they did during their busy schedule. Sometimes I take my journal to jot down some thoughts or my poetry journal to jot down the feelings.

I started thinking of this when I realized that on tv and in movies, the characters always turn to sitting in a pew when they’ve had a rough experience. Myself, well, I used to be highly involved in every ministry and event at my church as humanly possible. When I went to church in times of needing that calm comfort, I did not get it as much because I would get distracted by a project or a person wanting to talk about something. My sanctuary had to be out where it was just me and God and the occasional chipmunk.

The song that has played through my head as the soundtrack for so, so many sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and thunderstorms, snow and sun is How Great Thou Art. There are times when the beauty of the natural, designed event is too much for words. All I can say is, “wow God” and then hum that song for the rest of the day or at least for all the verses. Today as I was exiting a bookstore after an awful day (don’t you love when someone who is suppose to be as close to you as family, someone who is supposed to have your back as you have their’s lies about you to the point where your moral, honour, ethics, and professionalism are called into question?), I was miserable. The two books I had just bought for relief had cheered me up a bit but not to the point where I could relax my shoulders (they’re still up by my ears) and smile. The rainy, strong winded day was not helping matters any. I turned to hold the door open for someone, and the wind became less harsh as it blew my hair around. I offered the person a polite smile and then froze when I heard the next song begin to play over the bookstore speakers. Elvis singing How Great Thou Art. I then made the choice to have a better day.

I did not get the chance to walk through the woods or even the park. I’m still struggling with that betrayal, but I am reminded my God, El Roi, sees my struggles and cares for me. Oh, and He’s the Creator of the universe! That thought is my comfort, my sanctuary, for today.

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