Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Searching for Peace, Finding Sanctuary

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22, 23 KJV
Everything I knew as normal came crashing down the day my father's heart stopped beating. Childhood abruptly came to an end. Innocence ripped from my young life as death formed a hole in my heart, never to be filled by any human.  In many ways, a death of family as I had known it.  Life would never be the same.

I was broken.  Very broken... and broken people are shattered vessels.  Even when they come to know The Lord and His salvation, as He puts them back together... they daily leak their peace.  Much like a dropped teacup carefully glued and put back together, scars remain... cracks can be seen.

I know we have the Prince of Peace living within in the form of the Holy Spirit (and I often write that Peace is a Person).  But our bodies and souls and thoughts and memories... however redeemed... are still of this broken world.

My life has been a search for peace and calm and security... and sanctuary.

While at times I have found great peace when walking in nature or sitting beside the water, I am not a camping out kind of girl.  I adore movies and TV shows about people who move to the mountains or the wilderness but to be honest... I'd rather just visit.

I have long found peace in the pages of books, since the days of my youth when I would hide under the branches of a willow tree or sit upon a quilt under a fruit tree (I do seem to have a thing for trees) or just wonder the bookstore perusing titles and opening pages to the aroma of a new book.  But one cannot live in books forever. Meals must be cooked, dishes washed, and clothes made clean again.

Broken people... those who daily leak their peace... need to actually abide in an environment conducive to that peace.  Which is why I write so much about rooms and houses and books about such places.  We were all created for Beauty.  We were born in a paradise.  The very soil which God used to form Adam was garden dirt.

We all... as I have written before... hear those echoes of Eden.  We feel them reverberating in every beat of our heart and every step we take throughout the days and years He has given us to walk the planet. 

Somewhere within our DNA exists the memory of... Perfect Beauty... Perfect Joy... Perfect Peace.

And while I believe every person has that yearning within, those of us who have been greatly broken... those who are shattered vessels... need to have that Beauty to keep at an even keel.

It is not always easy.  The menfolk in my life tended to be loud and boisterous.  There was once a young boy so rambunctious that his mother found peace only in a hot bath filled with bubbles and a book and an icy drink sipped slowly behind the locked doors of the bathroom.  Which is why many of my favorite books from that era are water stained.

There have been instances when peace came only when one could slip away from the house to a quiet coffee shop, once again with a book, ... sipping good coffee... pondering.  Finding serenity in the midst of others reading, writing, chatting, watching their screens on tablets and laptops and phones. 

I seem to be more sensitive these past years to those things that rob my peace, take away joy, and plant seeds of anxious thoughts.  There has been an overwhelming need to create places of peace... places of Sanctuary.  His Presence, His Word, and my surroundings coming together to bring with them a strengthening of the spirit... and calm to the soul.

Even the smallest house or apartment or room can have a few houseplants and candles and books and good smells coming from the kitchen.  Music in the background that we find lovely.  A soothing landscape on the wall.  Perhaps a needlework project resides in a basket or sheet music to play on the piano.

Always for me a beloved pet to cuddle as we sigh and ponder and think deeply of the promises of His Word.  Before Eve, Adam's friends were those with fur and feathers.

So please understand when I write words about lovely spaces, I know true peace is in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of a Person.  For without Salvation there can be no real  true lasting serenity. 

But within the minutes and hours and days this world revolves around the sun... I need a Place.  Sanctuary.  With my tea and a little piece of chocolate or a couple cookies and my book and my comfy chair and a Maine Coon kitty. 

Perhaps my headphones will be necessary as those I live with are not always serene.    But I must have my own little corner of the world where I can go to be filled yet again with His Presence and Peace.

What about you?  If there is not a room, is there a corner of a room?  A chair?  A kitchen?  A Place that when you walk into it, you find the peace returning?  I hope so.  I pray there is.

For in a world where calm is increasingly difficult to find, we need our sanctuaries and our places.  Until that time when we go to the Place He went to prepare for us... where we will no longer leak peace.


Lee Ann said...

I so agree with you. I don't have the decorating gene so to speak but since reading your blog I realize how making the home feel more homey is so very important

becka said...

Thank you for your beautiful words, Brenda. I truly believe beauty is restful to the soul. Reading your words is also a beautiful, calming thing.

Linda said...

Oh, Brenda, you have expressed so perfectly the peace amidst pain that we experience on this earth. Thank you for affirming that it's OK to desire and make those places for ourselves even as we cling to Him.
Linda Nichols

Terra said...

This is very well said. I don't care about decorating, yet find we can add peaceful elements to our homes, which I love to do. My go to spot is visiting my statue of Mary in our garden, or sitting on the patio reading.

Anonymous said...

I just moved to Kansas in what I thought would be our last home.I left 2 of my Daughters in Alabama and on my way to my sons wedding in South Carolina I got a phone call my oldest daughter was killed in a wreck.We turned around and went to Alabama.I pray for peace and now I need to make my house a home and it is really hard.

suzanne said...

What a meaningful phrase..."leaking peace". I think we all do that. Our cups all have cracks, I'll bet. So we must keep going back to the fill our cups with the Peace that passes all understanding. I find peace in the early morning hours, watching God paint the skies as the sun rises. "how marvelous, is my Saviours love for me!" little ole me. amen?

Anonymous said...

Lovely!! Pam (SD)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. I believe everyone needs a place to sit and ponder. I like you find comfort in movies. I also enjoy stitching. There is something soothing about watching the needle and thread weave their way through the fabric, creating a lovely design in the end. ~ Donna E.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have always sought out places of peace in my life, especially the times when my life was in turmoil. However, I never thought about peace " leaking" out of me! Interesting thought......However, even now that my life is much more peaceful, I still seek out those quite, peaceful a corner of my craft room, or a favorite chair on the deck (when the weather is nice) with a cup of coffee in the morning with my Bible and devotional, or a favorite book or magazine and a cup of tea in the afternoon. Also, on occaision, a tub full of bubbles after gardening, or lying in the hammock under the trees in our backyard. Love being surrounded by nature....soaking in the beauty of God's creation. It has always rejuvenated me. Maybe because the Garden of Eden was mankind's first home?
Lovely post! You always give food for thought. I've needed lots of peaceful moments this past week after the wedding. (It was a Beautiful wedding, BTW) Thank-you!
Hugs and Blessings!
Laura C. from WA

Anonymous said...

To "Anonymous" in Kansas ~ I am so sorry to hear of the sudden and very tragic loss of your daughter. I live in lower Alabama and will keep you and your family in my prayers. ~ Donna E.

Glenda said...

What a wonderful post. I will think of your phrase "leaking peace" forever now. What an amazing way to look at the result of the turmoil that surrounds us and affects us.

Bless you, Brenda

Unknown said...

What good food for thought...makes me wonder about giving my children little places also like this for them to relax and restore themselves...

Sallie Borrink said...

The greatest way I have stopped my peace from leaking was to turn off the TV. I stopped watching news, don't listen to the radio news, and stopped going to Drudge. I see bits and pieces of things on FB and that is enough.

Laurie said...

A beautiful post! I find sanctuary in favorite books - I find myself reading Anne of Green Gables when I'm having a rough patch. Always a pot of tea and a pretty teacup along with a furry friend at my feet or in my lap!

Kathy said...

what a beautiful phrase "leaking peace". We are all broken. Thank you!