miscellaneous

My sacred place in time

Some pretty crepe myrtle trees here in North Texas. Tilted because all trees should be viewed at an angle. © 2012 Rob Keeley.

I have seven kids.

Okay, just a minute, let me get you a chair. Better? Good. Yes, I’m Mormon.

As I was saying, I have seven kids. Even though they’re getting older, I’m still very busy taking care of them, just in different ways. And one of the things I’ve learned is that I need a sacred place.

I’m sure you know what I mean, though you may use different words. It’s the place where you can sort out what’s important in your life and what isn’t.

Now, what I’ve said is actually a little misleading. When I was younger, I thought this sacred place was equal to church. When I was a bit older, I thought it meant having a special place in the woods out back, or a particular corner of the room, and all those things can be a sacred place. But as I got older, I learned that I could have the chapel, or woods, or corner, and it wouldn’t mean anything. What mattered most was time.

In America’s early years, the concept of the Sabbath, one day of rest, was considered vital. Time was spent in prayer and meditation, in service to others and in, well, resting.

Now we live in a time when cell phones mean you are always connected to your job, when laptops mean you can work just about anywhere, and when we expect to be able to walk into any place of business on any day at any time, if not in actual person, then in the virtual world of the Internet.

And we’re always moving, from the bed to the car to work or school to get lunch to pick up the kids to taking them home maybe picking up dinner on the way where we are awake just long enough to eat and watch some TV before homework and working from home engross us and then we crash into bed and the cycle starts again the next morning. It’s difficult to find a place that can be considered sacred, a place to search our souls.

As I said, I have seven kids. The closest I come to a sacred space is my bedroom, as even church is spent making sure all my kids are relatively reverent and well-behaved. I only hear half of what’s being said.  But even my bedroom is debatable most of the time, due to my current life.

So, I’ve learned that the most important thing is to have a sacred place in time. Here are some of the things I do to achieve that:

  • Pick a day where you focus on spiritual things.  For me, that’s Sunday.  I don’t work on writing.  I don’t email or social network unless it helps me draw the Spirit into my life.  But this isn’t enough to really help keep me from losing balance.  So…
  • I add a time once or twice a day to focus on the spiritual.  For me, that’s morning prayer and scripture study.  I used to spend some time in the evening as well, but lately my body hasn’t been giving me the time.  I average 10 minutes, but it can be less or more, as long as I get in something every day.
  • I walk.  Any exercise is good, but I find an occasional walk in the early morning when it’s cool (I live in Texas so cool is always good) when the sun is rising and the world is still groggy and rubbing its eyes is a wonderful time to think.  It’s a time to realize why that particular part of a story means so much to me, or what aspects of my world are calling to me.  It helps that I don’t bring an iPod (or the generic equivalent) and that the streets where I walk are quiet, especially at that time of the morning.

Without that sacred place in time, I find I have a more difficult time figuring out where I want to go and where I need to go.  God’s voice in my life becomes distant, and I begin to feel like I don’t know either Him or me.  I start to wonder if life is only shades of gray instead of the brilliant colors I see when I touch that sacred place.

(This post can also be found at my new website amykeeley.com.  It’s a work in progress, but you’re welcome to take a look around while I’m still rearranging things.)

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