This past week was full of opportunities to lose peace and begin worrying about world events. I mean, really... Russia is in Syria, people! Students are killed because they admitted they were Christians. Flooding rains are hitting our East Coast. Fires and drought continue in California. So much is out of our control.
Even in my home, there were reminders we live in a fallen world. Hubby had a bad week. My back hurt. Few items on my To Do Before it Gets Cold list were accomplished. There was not enough money left over from necessities to attend my very favorite historical reenactment (albeit cold, rainy weather would not have been good for the muscle aches). Nothing horrible. No tragedies. Just... little foxes nipping at the ankles of my peace.
I have an overwhelming need for Sanctuary. I have Someone to run to but I also need a Place (or Places). The darker the outside world is, the more I have a realization of the affect my surroundings have on my peace. Throw in shorter days and cooler temperatures for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, when we begin to turn our attention away from nature and towards the home... and creating Sanctuary becomes high on my priority list.
Long ago I wrote a list of "Things I Love" when it comes to Sanctuary. I believe it is in a former Scrapbook Journal. Since I can remember, I have put thought and when possible... budget... into these items. They are always on my mind when in a thrift store.
Here is my list of indoor Sanctuary items, not complete I am certain and not in order of importance:
- Plants (real and silk)
- My Bible and favorite devotionals
- Beautiful magazines
- Supplies used for creating
- Artwork of all mediums on the walls
- Photos of those I love
- Podcasts and good earphones
- Blackboards & Bulletin boards
- Hot beverages in cold weather
- A colorful kitchen
- Vintage aprons
- Teacups & Teapots & Red tea kettles
- Favorite movies and TV shows on DVDs
- Lamps on at night
- Kitties (yes... I am repeating this one)
- The windows open when it is raining
I'm sure if I pondered longer, I could come up with more items that speak "Sanctuary" but these are the most important. This past week, I worked at the desk in my Study at times. Looking around and soaking in the atmosphere of home. Victoria, as usual, hopped on the desk as soon as the card stock and washi tape appeared.
When my back was aching, I felt at peace on the sofa with my pillow and an old throw. Listening to a radio program or a podcast with the earphones on so not to disturb my husband. My stack of Books Currently Reading was on the coffee table as was... coffee, or tea, or hot apple cider. The kitty would jump on my legs to stretch out and then jump off immediately. She can't stand the aroma of Ben Gay which has been rubbed on the muscles. ;)
Each room in my home is a different kind of sanctuary. Although my Study is filled with the things that bring me peace, the look of Sanctuary... it is another room of the house where I probably spend even more time in cold weather.
Ever since I can remember, if I was very upset I would either cook or bake or clean. Cleaning came about more often if I was waiting for a member of my family to arrive home when they were late. Especially if the weather was bad.
But nothing, I mean nothing at all, relaxes me more than the process of cooking from scratch. I have a (now ancient it seems) large, thick cutting board which has seen many a chopped onion as the beginning of a soup or a stew or a casserole or the evening's Tex Mex menu. The aroma of the onion in the cast iron skillet, of bread baking in the oven, of pumpkin bars or pumpkin cookies to share with the kids, of bacon sizzling in the morning as the coffee brews, all say "Home".
When the large (and heavy) Kitchen Aid mixer is scooted out where I can easily work with it on the kitchen counter, something quite magical is about to happen. Narnia magic. Kitchen magic. The alchemy of ingredients which... when separate... are quite humble. But mixed together in just the right proportion and baked at 350 degrees? Magic.
Whether one lives in a studio apartment or a mansion or a ranch or a hut or like me... a mid-century ranch house... we need a Place as well as a Person where we find peace. For most of us, it is a need as important to our well being as food and water.
And you are created for this. He understands completely. Don't let anyone ever tell you that Beauty is not a necessary part of life. It is part of your DNA. For you are created in the image of the Greatest of All Creators.
And part of the love you have for those you live with is to create Sanctuary. With those little extras here and there that are specific to each person. The surroundings they enjoy, the special menu just for each one even if it is on their birthday, doing just a little more than usual to decorate for the seasons, planning that Thanksgiving meal and the Christmas cookies and thinking ahead for what will make their heart sing... and your heart sing.
For you have made your little place on the planet a Sanctuary. Never perfect. Never completely peaceful, I am certain. But good.