Special places, sacred spaces

I have been feeling reflective today. (When I’m like this it’s easy for others to think I’m being spaced out, but I  like to think it’s just that my mind is busy with higher things, and can’t be expected to remember where I left the keys or what we’re having for dinner).

Anyway I was given the chance to reflect as I helped the kids build this cubby house:

I love how excited kids get about cubby houses.  I have many fond memories of building cubbies when I was a kid – out of boxes, under chairs, and in the bush. I think this love of a special place continues into adulthood – there is some part of us that craves a space that is separate, set apart.

I think that this is what’s so appealing about really beautiful old churches – whatever religion they might represent. A group of people took time and care to create a space that was separate from the rest of the world, a place that was dedicated to the soul – for reflection and growth and spiritual commune.

I got a real sense of this on my recent trip to Italy, when we visited the incredible Duomo in Milano.

This cathedral took more than 500 years to build. I found it almost impossible to get my head around that timeframe. That’s nearly six centuries. Those who began building it knew they would never see the finished result – they knew their grandchildren’s grandchildren wouldn’t see it either.Yet they toiled to create a masterpiece of incredible workmanship.

It often saddens me that religion is responsible for so much violence and destruction – I understand those who, like John Lennon, would like to imagine a world where it doesn’t exist.

But there’s also something wonderful about how spirituality brings out the best in us as well. I sat in the Duomo and lit a candle on Easter Sunday and thought about how grateful I was that I could reflect in such a beautiful place, thanks to a brotherhood of faithful people who believed in the importance of sacred spaces.

Obviously we can’t all just pop down to the Duomo whenever we feel like being quiet and reflective (more’s the pity!) but I hope that we all have somewhere – a church, a mosque, temple, chair, room, quiet sunny corner or a favourite tree or garden – where we can find a sacred space that offers the same, private, tucked away feeling for our souls that cubbies brought us when we were little.

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2 thoughts on “Special places, sacred spaces

  1. Bloss

    What a great post. I too love the sense of the sacred that results from the dedication of many many people over centuries as they labour to create cathedrals worthy of God. Completely awe-inspiring.

    For me, my sacred place, in the absence of such magnificence, is a long, hot, deep bath. Candles. Just me and my thoughts.

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