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Sacred Places

Sarah Cunningham Castro — November 1, 2022

Blog

Sacred Space Love

By Lava Mueller

Here is a story about Camp Takodah and the power of love.

So I’m seventeen years old, just graduated from high school, and getting ready for a big transition from small-town Maine to big-city Boston when college starts in the fall. This is my first summer at this beautiful, old, rustic, YMCA summer camp nestled in the New Hampshire forested hills.

It’s orientation week for the staff, no kids here yet, and we are building the new outdoor chapel on the hilly banks of Cass Pond. When a severe thunderstorm strikes we take refuge under the big lodge where the boats are stored.

The other counselors are laughing and squealing at the booming thunder and simultaneous blinding flashes of lightning. The usually calm lake is dancing with the wind and rain. It is the wildest thunderstorm I have ever experienced, and yet, and yet, and yet I cannot join the girls in their awe because I realize that at this very moment, as the storm rages and roars, my parents are officially severing their marriage, finalizing their divorce, breaking their togetherness apart and my heart is breaking open.

My mom is about to move across the country, my dad has moved to our cabin on the Maine coast, my sister and brother have already launched, and I am without home and family, alone here at a camp where I know no one.

I try hard to hide the tears that insist on flowing, but a few of the girls near me notice. I am embarrassed but they are kind and I tell them what is happening and they embrace my grief, those bright and shiny and loving and good people. And during the sweet hug as the thunder roars and the flashes strike and the pond splashes on the row-boat docks, something bigger than human love surrounds me, enters into me, immerses itself into my very core. It is the spirit of Camp Takodah.

For seven summers of my early adult rising and shining, I took refuge at this camp, basking in the love, support, and guidance, from humans and from the sparkling spirit that held us all.

Love is everywhere, this we know, but there are some places on this sacred and spinning planet that are superly, seriously charged with love.

I don’t go back to camp very often these days but when I do, boy golly gee, it’s still there, that feeling, that blessing, that infusion of love.

But ya know what? That same love is everywhere, it really and truly is. It’s here for me, for you, for everyone. It’s not really about a place, it’s about our desire to know it, to let it in. And in. And in. And to shine it out.

But sacred places are sweet because they make it easy to receive that good love. They are a landing ground for receiving the blessings of all of creation, and they are a launch pad for us to take off and shine out our love as a blessing to others. Where is your sacred place?

Is it a green hill with the autumn leaves just starting to turn?

Maybe you got you some big happy friends in that field

Or maybe just one little friend

Come a little closer, little buddy!

That’s the way, you little cutie pie, you!

Maybe your sacred place is a distant cornfield

or maybe it’s the clouds above the field

Or maybe it’s the corn stalks

Or maybe a magical field of lichen

If you’re not quite sure where your sacred spot is, you may want to think about it for a while

Maybe even sleep on it

Be open to any and all possibilities. It might be bright and colorful

Or it might be more subdued

Just remember, wherever your road takes you, wherever those sacred places are

you are not alone. You are never alone. Love surrounds you, love pours through you. You are loved, you are loved, you are loved. So bask in the presence of the ever-present spirit of love, and whatever you do, don’t forget to look up!

Lava Mueller is the Minister of Love Church and wrote this beautiful reflection in her weekly newsletter.