I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “sanctuary” lately. I don’t really know what brought it on, but I think it all started a few months ago when Orlando lived through the Pulse shootings. And as the weeks unfolded and Evil cranked the volume up on our nation and world, it kept coming to mind even more. I kept having the thought that all anyone is ever looking for is sanctuary.
We all want to feel safe, in every meaning of the word. We want to feel physically safe and not like we are all holding our breath when the door to an establishment we are sitting in comes flying open unexpectedly. We don’t want to feel targeted because of the color of our skin, the prayers we speak or the people we love. We all want to feel emotionally safe. We want to feel like we can be who we were created to be, rough spots and shiny ones included, and still feel wholly loved and accepted by the world, and more importantly, those we love. We want to feel spiritually safe. We want to believe that God cares…even if we don’t believe in his existence entirely. We are looking for sanctuary, for safety.
Maybe I’ve thought of this a lot lately because I feel very unsafe in some ways. Big changes are up on the horizon for me personally. My little one is traipsing off to kindergarten in a week and a half. I am equal parts thrilled to have a different kind of freedom and absolutely devastated that this is the end of an era for he and I. He is pretty nervous about entering real school and his anxiety brings back every first day of school butterfly I ever experienced in life. Its hard to know how to parent a kid who is so terrified when you feel that same terror. Its a weird mix of being honest, brave and faking it just a little bit.
I am leading a small group of women through a Bible study this fall and because of my schedule and the healthy boundaries I have set for my life in the fall, it means most of the women that are already in my day to day life can’t make it. So that means new people for me and new friends. And new is always hard for me, even when it leads to life changing relationships eventually.
I’m toying around with finding a “real” job when school starts back up. And let’s not even get started about the terror that “new” brings to my head. Can I even cut it anymore? Does my brain work beyond building train tracks and lego trucks? Do I know big words anymore? Am I even likable anymore? Do I actually possess skills that people value? Oy vey. Let’s stop that record now before the needle gets stuck and I’m paralyzed on the worst line ever for a while.
All this to say, I think I’ve been thinking about sanctuary lately because I am craving sanctuary lately. I am craving something safe, secure and solid. A fortress of acceptance, love and warmth. When we think about sanctuary we tend to picture a big castle or structure of some sort, mine is always on a cliff for some reason, but rarely do I picture a person. And yet, that is what I am craving these days. I am craving the people around me to be sanctuary. And I am hoping and praying that I can be sanctuary for them, too.
Can a person be a sanctuary? I think so and here is why:
This week my friend, Labri, saw that I was crumbling in a world with no “me time” and swooped in to steal my child for the day. Sanctuary.
I found out today that Levi has been placed in the largest kindergarten class in his school due to overcrowding. I immediately lost my mind. I texted my friend, Jordan, all of my mind lost woes and she immediately not only assured me that all of these woes were completely valid but challenged me to dig deep and push past some “change demons”. Sanctuary. And she got in touch with her sister, who is a public school teacher, and got some cold hard facts on classroom size and teacher/student ratios and gave me some positive feedback on how Levi’s situation might not be that awful. Sanctuary.
I posted on Facebook about my insane mommy anxiety and two friends from the past commented just to let me know that I’m not alone in this mom town craziness and that they have felt the exact same way. Sanctuary.
Two random neighbors saw my question about how this huge kindergarten classroom thing works on our neighborhood app and jumped right in to tell me that they had had the same fears for their kids and that it had been an amazing experience. Sanctuary. Another stranger messaged me to say her daughter has been placed in the same classroom and she is just as nervous as I am. Sanctuary.
All people are looking for in life is sanctuary, a place to feel all their feels and hash out all their thoughts and not be dinged up or persecuted in the process. I want to be sanctuary for people. Because I need sanctuary more than ever these days. What about you?