Sacred Spaces

The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati

This morning on my commute to work I saw the crest of Christ Hospital on the horizon as I pulled off my exit.  Normally it’s covered by layers of trees in the distance but now that fall is in full swing and the trees are bare I had the perfect view.  I smiled as I thought about how Christ Hospital was where I was born.  It was were my wife Emily was born.  It was also where my two daughters Ruby and Gertie were born.  It’s weird to think how every key player in my life was born in pretty much the same place. Christ Hospital is sacred to me because of this.

Sacred spaces aren’t always where you’d expect them to be.  Hospitals, for instance, get a bad wrap.  People often avoid or think to avoid hospitals because of the disease, germs, and death inside.  Hospitals confront all sides of pain and suffering and most people do what they can to run away from such things.  But if you think about it, all sacred spaces are places where each of us confronts our pain and suffering.  For many of us, that is what brought us to Dharma practice.  It’s what brings sinners to church. Its where we fight our imaginary battles and fears that bounce around in our heads.  Hospitals are just easy scapegoats since they wear their suffering on their sleeves.

But in all sacred places, whether it is the Bodhi tree in India or your kitchen sink,  there is much more than pain and suffering going on there.  There is also healing, birth, and rebirth.  In these places, we are called to work whether we know it or not.  We work out problems, disease, attachment, bad thoughts, guilt, fights, fear, and uncertainty there.  It is where healing, in all its many forms, can enter our lives. A truly sacred space will give you the freedom to work things out, no matter the outcome.  It’s just there for you.  The sacred space Christ Hospital gave birth to my family.  Recognize sacred spaces in your own life and let them work you out.

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