It's nearing that time of year again. Students are going back to school, summer clothes of shorts and t-shirts are being put away to make room for sweaters and scarves. The leaves are turning, you're waiting for that little chill in the air and your favorite seasonal drink at your local coffee shop to let you know that fall is here. Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?
With the change in seasons comes the opportunity for a change not just in our schedules and wardrobes, but also in our physical, mental and spiritual spaces. Those going off to college know what this is like. Nothing signals change like the act of trucking stuff back into the dorm room or apartment, or finding new rhythms of school, work and play, or merely finding your own group or space to belong.
Whether our search for belonging today is emotional or physical, the desire to belong is not uncommon. In fact, Scripture describes our parents in faith as sojourners always in search of home--a place to plant roots. But how does one begin to plant roots or carve out a space to pause when we live in an attention driven economy that tells us to keep moving?
Thankfully, there are ways to turn our homes [whether they be apartments, dorms or a room at your parents' place] into sanctuaries and havens that allow us to pause and reflect. This act of creating a sacred space, when done with purpose, can help move us into a deeper connection with ourselves, with God and with our physical environment.
The place where you break bread
How many memories do you have of great conversations shared over a good meal? There's gotta be several. Whether it's a late night burger run, a pizza in the oven or a meal you've spent all afternoon preparing, something special happens when we break bread and share drinks with one another. It is a holy time. Regardless of how busy you are in the week, make time for at least one meal to be shared with others. Believe me, you've got time. You've got to make time.
The living room
Henri Nouwen once wrote: “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy." We're not necessarily recommending pulling strangers off the street into your home [though it's been done before]. But what might happen if we treated the common rooms in our homes as places where strangers could enter and become friends instead of enemies? What would that look like? Who might we invite in? How might we be blessed in the process?
The old table you don't want to get rid of but don't know what to do with
Maybe it's not an entire room that you transform, but a small corner of your space, however big or small it may be. What are those reminders to you of home? Of love and fellowship, of generosity and peace? It may be a painting or the warmth of a glowing candle. It may be that Bible your grandmother gave you, or a note that your best friend from 6th grade passed you. Whatever those pieces are that ground you and tell you that you are beloved, assemble them to call to you so that whenever you pass them by, you are reminded that you are safe and you are loved.
You can start now.
The practice of creating a sacred space won't just provide a sense of calm throughout your college years [or any transition], but can evolve into a practice that spills into the other spaces you find yourself in, years and years from now. What does your sacred space look like? Share it with us by tagging us with #rethinkchurch on twitter
. May this fall greet you with the type of environment and space that you can call home.