“If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth.” – Alexandra Stoddard
I always enjoy the opportunity to tour lovely homes. Every year I go on a housewalk, where beautiful homes are decorated inside and out as a fundraiser to provide scholarships to high school students. Seeing such homes always makes me a little envious–but the home that made me most envious recently was not part of a housewalk. It was simply a house where my husband and I had gone to a party.
The rooms that had me drooling were a bedroom suite belonging to our host. The suite was spacious and had paintings, statues, and books on shelves. There was a comfortable couch that was obviously used by our host to relax. Why did this particular suite create a yearning in me? It wasn’t necessarily the spaciousness. The bedroom my husband and I share is the largest room in our house. It wasn’t necessarily the artwork. We have paintings that I like. They are not valuable, but I have no reason to think the artwork in that suite was valuable either. Books? No. I’ve got books—more than I will ever read, probably. The couch? No. My room contains a comfortable chair.
No, what appealed to me about the suite was the order and sense of peace. It was a place to get away from our noisy, busy world and read or reflect. Religious artifacts made it clear that it was also a place to pray.
It was a sanctuary.
My bedroom has the basics to make it a sanctuary. Besides the comfortable chair, which belonged to my mother, I have a small bookcase from her, and a lamp and table from my mother-in-law. These women are deceased, and their items have positive connotations for me. I even have a few religious artifacts in my room.
The problem is that I have too much clutter. It is not a calm place to reflect or to pray. I don’t need to add anything to make my room a sanctuary, I need to subtract items. My books are stacked on night stands, on the floor, and even under my bed. These need to be cleared out and put in order. I have papers and magazines to sort through, and I need to hang up clothes I have flung over another chair.
So I’ve decided to do some “spring cleaning” now, while it’s winter. I live in the Chicago area, and the cold and snow make me want to cocoon. This is a better time for me to declutter than spring, when I will want to be out enjoying the weather.
I look forward to having a sanctuary of my own.
What about you? Do you have a place that serves as your sanctuary? How have you nourished your spiritual self recently?