October 17th, 2006
I watched a giant swallowtail this morning as she gracefully dipped and sailed from sage to verbena. She wasn’t alone. Around this magnificent creature flitted a colorful cloud of zebra swallowtails, queens, monarchs and many others I couldn’t name — dancing silently together like falling leaves or petals in a breeze. This time it wasn’t Harriet in the Costa Rican butterfly farm, it was me — just a hop, skip, and a jump from home. I was visiting our new butterfly exhibit at the zoo and botanical gardens across the street. What a wonder! I was transfixed, amazed at the beauty and grace of these insects. And as I watched, I was aware of the sacredness of the moment.
Another such moment came last Friday morning when, on my usual morning walk, I stopped to sit for a few minutes in the shade of a desert willow. In front of me three adult giraffes gracefully moved across their enclosure. Then one, the female, returned to a place hidden behind some boulders. Minutes later she emerged with her two-week-old calf. He wobbled along behind her on spindly legs for a bit, then to my delight, jumped and trotted and cavorted as he chased a goose whose curiosity had brought too close. The baby giraffe was a portrait of joy as he discovered his world . . . and for me, watching him was a sacred moment.
Sacred spaces: Those moments in which we are transported from the ordinary into a differenct realm — those moments in which we see our Creator’s touch and feel his presence as we celebrate his creation.
Is it possible to find sacred spaces within the ordinary moments of our lives? For me, days can go by without them. But maybe I’m not looking in all the right places. Maybe those moments are here with us . . . but we just haven’t noticed.
We can’t always hope to see a newborn giraffe cavorting or butterfly lighting on our fingertips to transport us to that sacred place. What about the small miracles of our everyday lives? What about that call you received from a friend just when you need encouragement? Or something you found that you thought was lost? Or music so tender and sweet it made you cry? Or a piece of art so magnificent you couldn’t describe it in words . . . but your heart danced with joy? Or the last time you heard a baby laugh, or observed an act of kindness by a stranger?
Look for the sacred moments in your day. You may be surprised at how many there are.