Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Loss of Sanctuary ...

An online dictionary defines "Sanctuary" as 1) a consecrated place and 2) a place of refuge and protection ... I would add that a Sanctuary is a place where you find refuge and protection ...

In recent months I have witnessed the loss of the significant sanctuary spaces in my life ... First on February 12th 2006, I watched in horror as the sanctuary space that was Minnedosa United Church (a sanctuary that for me was far more than a building) was consumed by fire ... Then in December of 2006, I ended the year with one last visit to the Building that had for almost 100 years been the home to Centennial United Church ... in hours, they would be handing over the keys to another, non-United Church congregation and the place that WAS Centennial beyond the building would be simply a memory ...

As this year has progressed I've felt the twinge of losing sanctuary after sanctuary ... places that have fed my soul and nurtured my heart ... places that I could retreat to to find solace and comfort and healing ... The loss of each one has diminished me and lays heavily on my soul ...

Today I realized that even the simple act of going to get a coffee, and action that has been a tangible sanctuary in my life, has lately become an extremely stressful chore ... the sanctuary that that simple action once represented has been taken from me ...

Even the very act of writing my thoughts and words here has been weighted heavily by the presence of those who wait to pounce on things they disagree with, or things that aren't to their liking ... Even here, in this place, I find no sanctuary any more ...

So, in this moment, I'm wondering if there are any sanctuary spaces in my life that are left ... the place of in-between where I move from the sanctuaries that once were, to the sanctuaries that will be is not a comfortable place ... and today I feel the many absences more than the potential ... and that is not a good place to be ... it makes the absence of sanctuary that much more poigniant and even painful ...

In time I will find new sanctuaries ... but right now I miss the ones I've lost ...

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Shawn, I am very distressed after reading your 'Loss of Sanctuary' entry. I would like you to always feel that Chipperfields offers you sanctuary - relief from the crap you've been dealt by the "Christians" in our midst. There will always be a place for such a GOOD MAN here and we are better for your presence. You've brought some peace to my being after years of feeling estranged from God and I have been finding my own way back to Him. That isn't something the Church has been able to do - probably due to the politics that STILL seems to run the United Church. It chased me and the bulk of my generation out 40 years ago and seems to be still doing it. Why is it that so many people think that by labeling themselves as church members they have carte blanche to gossip and ruin other people's reputations? That they have the position in the community to bad mouth whoever and they are believed? It's a long time since I paid a lot of attention to the people who go in and out of church on Sunday. Instead, I determine a person's worth by how the people close to me and i feel about them as a person based on how we see them behave Monday to Saturday. Anyway, let me know what I can do to get you back your space at Chipperfields.