Moldova, March 2019
My bed is pushed up so that the headboard is against the window. I leave the blinds open. At night, if I crane my head, I see the stars. Perhaps the moon too.
But the mornings are delicious. I wake up bathed in sunshine, in a pool of warm light. Perhaps the sky is very blue, perhaps a cloud or two drifts across its face.
Eight o’clock is the sweet hour. Eight to nine and afterwards the sun slowly drifts up and away. My room is pink. It steals the light and keeps it safe and stored within its walls.
The rest of the apartment may be gloomy, slightly cast in shadow … but my room? With its curved walls dotted with post it notes and chapter sheets marching along the ground? With the books heaped on the sturdy little drawers and bags piled up in a corner? With white bedsheets which have caught spring blossoms and a faux brown fur that surely was once a fierce bear?
It’s light. It’s comfort. It’s a secret place where stress retreats just a little. It’s where daydreams are made and fears are kept at bay. It’s where I lie with headphones and listen to songs of hope, full of melody and wishes. It’s where a book and a tune and a cup of tea are the closest things to heaven I have and where prayers are told and heart-secrets whispered.
In here, I am at peace.
In this pocket of happiness, I find sanctuary.
There are other places – a stretch of road where the sun always shines and the bark on the trees is slowly peeling, leaving pure white beneath and a belief that surely, surely they are from another, more mystical world. A kitchen table when it is just I and a window and perhaps a cup of tea – not English Breakfast, but I’ve learned that there are other delights which can fill a cup. A carpet, on which I dance – not elegantly, never that, but with a feeling that youth is fleeting and I must grab it and rejoice in existence, in the life that flows through my veins. In a mirror in which I peer at my face and pretend that she and I have hidden jokes that we must always laugh at.
There is sanctuary everywhere. Hidden. Between the here and now and the hereafter.
(In the heart. That too. In the relief that truth brings. In the peace that follows. In the words written in the only book that is living. In the prayer whispered. In the burden shared. )
Sanctuary. Peace. Contentment. Joy.
Life will try to drench us with worries, numb our bones with cares, and steal our breath with anxiety … but there is always sanctuary. If only we look.