By definition a sanctuary is a special, holy, reserved place or shrine. Sanctuaries are generally set up for the specific purpose and intent of shelter, harbor or retreat. And sanctuaries as a rule, are usually very beautiful. Some may be almost grossly ornate; while, others exist in their pure simplicity. You probably have at least one sanctuary that immediately comes to mind.

Maybe it is your church or synagogue? Or one you have visited while vacationing? I have had the opportunity to visit a number of such Christian

places including the Holy Name Cathedral Catholic Church in downtown Chicago. An immediate sense of peace and wonder overcame me as I toured through the church. Art, carvings and architecture dating back to 1886.A relatively small place in relation to the city within which it resides. And just a stones throw away, a Great Lake, offering a different form of sanctuary.

I once had an opportunity to visit a non-Christian sanctuary in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was the 8th largest mosque in the world! Massive. I did not feel a sense of sanctuary there; quite possibly because I am not Muslim. But it was not for a lack of trying. Dressed in a borrowed Burka, (no, I did not desecrate it by wearing a bikini underneath!), I walked through the massive space designed to house over 8,000 people in worship. And that was just the inside of the building! The decor was ornate and gold plated. No more or less overstated than any Catholic Church I have been in. But I just didn’t feel it. And that was ok. One man’s sanctuary is another man’s ‘meh.’

Evidence we can’t all feel the same vibe from the same place.

A sanctuary can be anywhere though can’t it?

There are the obvious places I have found sanctuary including: churches, the beach, riding solo through the Black Hills of South Dakota and skiing a deserted well worn mountain run.

Like you, I have also found sanctuary in some not so ordinary places throughout the world. Sometimes in places you never would think of looking. Like a stroll through the back alleys of Barcelona, a Mayan ruin, a night bar-b-que and sliding down a dessert dune in the Middle East and a sacred Lakota Indian burial site in the middle of a motorcycle rally in South Dakota.

My favorite local place is the Labrynthe at Moody Methodist Church just a few blocks down the road.

Wherever you find sanctuary is a good thing. The peace, safety, special or holy feeling is always welcome. I invite you to share that space with someone you know.

Sancturarily yours,

Nadine Bodine

Your VERY Best friend in the whole wide world 🌎☮️❤️🚋

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