When I was a little girl, my parents gave me a beautiful white wicker full-length mirror. It hung on a stand so that it could swing, slightly, forward and back.
I kept it in the corner of my bedroom, and when I wanted to escape, I would swing the mirror enough for me to step underneath it and crawl into the space behind. It could have only been a few square feet, but that space felt like a world apart to me, a sacred safehouse, a hidden oasis.
I would bring a pillow and blanket with me and curl up and rest until I was ready to emerge, Narnia-like, through the mirror once more.
The church I grew up in built a new sanctuary when I was young. It was spacious and bright, like a window to the world of worship, with tiled floors and huge, vaulted ceilings.
The old sanctuary, which we called the “upper sanctuary,” was dark, lit only by the thick red and green stained glass windows along one side. One could creep up the center aisle, between the smooth wooden pews, with barely a sound, footsteps hushed by the plush maroon carpet.
I would visit the upper sanctuary often, my fingers trailing along those pews, to play its lonely upright piano in the sweet dark, the sound incense rising all the way to Heaven.
My first college apartment was in the basement of a three-story building on the East side of Rogers Park. It had long hallways, creaky wooden floors, and overhead pipes that made the sound of lead balls rolling back and forth. My bedroom had a closet with no light, and I could close the door to create a place of merciful quiet and dark.
I wrote on the walls, with ink so black I could barely paint it over when I moved out. You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.
I traced into those white walls Psalms, lyrics, poems. Prayers.
And there I hid, while the storms of broken relationships and young adulthood raged outside the door.
There are places we make safe, and there are places that make us safe. Sometimes the difference is as slight as a sigh, a tiny exhale of breath, as small as the space of a few steps.
Where have your safe spaces, your prayer closets, your hidden hideaways been?
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