Finding Our Holy Spaces
Author: Sharron Carnes, Senior Warden
Like many families, we had made plans months ago to go on a spring break skiing trip. Although we were well aware of the corona virus, its full impact on the United States was just beginning to become clear as we were throwing our cold weather gear in suitcases and checking in for our flights. I was especially anxious over the prospects of exposure to the virus, but I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be with our two grown children, their spouses, and our 5 grandchildren. Once safely there, it seemed that every day the news was bleaker from the standpoint of the health risks and the economics of how it would directly impact our family.
But…we were already there, money already spent, perhaps already exposed in route, so there was nothing to be done but enjoy our time in a beautiful setting with people we loved.
The week ended with ski resorts closing all around us and people all around us rushing, as we were, to get home to our bubbles safe and sound.
Once I was home, and some groceries in house, it became clear that this was definitely not a normal time! The first shock came after Mike and I decided that I should not attend the Vestry meeting on Monday night since I had been through 4 major airports in less than a week. I attended by speaker phone, and the second came when we as a Vestry decided that we should close the church and school for at least 2 weeks. CDC recommendations and increasing numbers of people ill in the United States began to settle in like a fog. From a personal standpoint, I knew that my anxiety level and fear would get out of control if I wasn’t careful. So, I began to think about what things I could do personally to weather this storm and to remain healthy on every level while social distancing. More quiet time, more healthy food, more exercise, cleaning out some closets and going through some stacks that had accumulated — and definitely more painting seemed to be at the top of the list.
I knew first of all that it was important be more disciplined about some early morning quiet time, which once included reading, contemplation and yes, checking my blood pressure. I knew that during this time of stress that all of that needed to be a priority. A favorite place for me to read is in our living room at a big antique desk that Eddy and I bought together at least 40 years ago. When I showed up for my first personal appointment on Tuesday morning, the fact that I couldn’t find a clean surface on that desk told me something about how much I needed to follow through on this facet of “survival.”
I set about cleaning, tossing and organizing, so that that space could once again be a personal holy space – which it certainly had not been recently. I’m just sorry I didn’t take a photo ahead of the cleanup, but Cyndy contacted me about writing this piece after the cleanup. Honest.
My other holy space, as many of you know, is my art studio. Luckily, I had cleaned it just before we left, and it will be a place of refuge as we muscle through this time.
So, my days so far have indeed included time at the desk, cooking nourishing food, exercise and yoga, painting, and a little cleaning. Day 4, and I’m doing ok. How about all of you? Your holy space may involve some other creative endeavor – such as writing or gardening or carpentry, or just sitting on the porch watching the sunset. But my prayer for you is that you will find that special holy space while you are practicing social distancing – which is so easy for some among us, but oh so hard for others. We must find some thin places while we cannot gather in our traditional worship spaces.
Stay well – physically and spiritually. Sharron