Welcome to Session 3—Silence as Sanctuary
There are many ways to find refuge in our daily lives if we choose to remember. Too often, we can get sucked into the vortex of expectations and things to do accompanied by a flurry of activities and thoughts, that we forget to ask for help when we need it. Refuge, sanctuary, will not come looking for us. Consider the first lines of Sanctuary.
Will you be my refuge
My haven in the storm,
Will you keep the embers warm
When my fire’s all but gone?
The lyrics are posed as a question. To ask for help requires self-awareness and humility. We must remember to ask for sanctuary.
You can rest here in Brown Chapel,
Or with a circle of friends,
A quiet grove of trees
Or between two bookends.
—Carrie Newcomer, Sanctuary
There is no one right way to seek or find sanctuary. Sometimes sanctuary is a place. Sometimes we need to be with loved ones, our circle of friends. Sometimes spending time in nature or reading a good book. Sometimes we find sanctuary through an act of creativity, like collage or journaling or in an activity where one loses all sense of time. And sometimes we just need silence.
We need silence to hear our own thoughts. It is in silence that we recognize thin places.
To enter into silence for this session, listen to “Move Slowly”, a meditation narrated by James Finley, set to the music of Alana Levandoski from the album “Sanctuary: Exploring the Healing Path.” Follow the link below for “Move Slowly” (it may be on the right side under Top Tracks), or you can download it at Alana’s website. Follow along with lyrics below.
“Move Slowly” Alana Levandoski, singing:
Move slowly, move slowly, move slowly into deep water.
You are safe with me, no longer thrown out to sea.
Now it’s time to breathe.
James Finley, speaking:
It is necessary to go out into deep water ‘cause that’s where the pain is. But in order for it to be safe to do that, it’s so important first to learn how to float in shallow water. Because to learn how to float in shallow water, is to learn to be vulnerable and safe at the same time. So once you have that feeling, it’s what lets you move out into deeper water, knowing if it gets too deep, too fast, you know how to find your way back again and get re-grounded. Not to run in the other direction, but just to get restored to head back out where you need to go. And that willingness to do that over and over and over again is what sets you free; and that’s really a lot of what this journey’s all about. Little, by little, by little, grace, by grace, by grace, you learn that floating in shallow water is the same as floating in deep water.
James Finley and Alana Levandoski, Sanctuary: Exploring the Healing Path (Cantus Productions: 2016), CD. Used with permission
Consider listening another time, letting the words settle on your heart. Into deep waters — safe — pain — float — shallow — vulnerable — re-grounded — restore
Before journaling, collage, or contemplation, ask for sanctuary— for the stillness of silence, for the ability to let go of doing, of pushing so hard. It is time for quiet rest, time to be. This is your sanctuary.
Slow me down, O Prince of Peace, Anna Lin
As we wait in silence, something beautiful is happening within us. Just as a child grows silently in the womb of its mother, we can bring into our life what is nurtured in the waiting. God works in us. Give yourself an hour or two (or more if you can), to just be.