I thought that if I could touch this place or feel it the brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else, I thought that maybe I could find myself …
… You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can. I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am.
Miranda Lambert, in “House That Built Me”
Two nights ago, after our work together was finished for the day, we returned to a spot we hadn’t been to in a long time. A sacred place. A place that has provided us with great joy, hope, security and peace. The place where our friendship, strong before that, really opened up and began to evolve in an exponentially deeper way, in which it took on a whole new meaning and purpose. Going back there, on a whim the other night, sitting at the very same spot we sat late that night several years ago surprised us with the feelings it evoked and the emotions it stirred. The memories of that night several years ago, when we opened up like never before, confessing our fears and vulnerabilities as fathers and husbands, our professional frustrations and dreams, our most personal feelings about being men, adults and pastors.
Perhaps it was the holiday spirit; it was the night before Christmas Eve. Perhaps it was the memories and feelings that Christmas so often, so starkly, brings. Perhaps it was the need to unload after a particularly stressful day.
But whatever it was, we each simultaneously took the risk to share with an intimacy and openness with one another like we never had before. It was a risk that paid off and it gave us the ability to explore issues and feelings over the last couple of years that we never felt free, other than with our wives, to open up about before. That night, we had found a safe haven with one another. That night, we had found a home in one another in which we knew we could be free to be who we are, a home from which we could freely grow into the better men we knew that we have been created to be.
Interestingly enough, it was that same place – that is now sacred to us – that a few years before, Tom had gone to journal, to reflect and to mourn a very painful loss during the darkest, most discouraging and lonely moment of his life. But that darkness was eliminated when the light of our openness broke through and the previous dark memories began to fade away.
We all have sacred places in our lives, places that by visiting them flood our emotions or hit vital nerves or tap into a reservoir buried deeply within. Maybe it’s the place where a conversation changed the trajectory of your thinking. Maybe it’s the place where you have gone when you just needed to be alone and anonymous and able to think through a dilemma, a place that always beings you clarity. Maybe it’s a place that fills you with joyful memories of special people sharing special times. Places where the memories evoked are filled with utter goodness, absolute gratefulness, abiding security and deep comfort.
We all need to visit those sacred places whenever we can. Whether they are physical places or places where we go to in our minds, we all need to touch base, as often as we can, with them.
To help heal our brokenness.
To remember who we are.
To go home.
To find ourselves again.