I love places. There’s something spiritual and almost otherworldly about certain places that we return to throughout our lives.
I am not one to sit at home. I am one to explore places. I am one to find the best place to hike, the quietest place to think, the most delicious place to eat, the most fun place to take a kid.
I love discovering the personality of a place. Places have many human qualities … they can be peaceful, professional, hipster, holy, pretentious, fun. Often, what determines the personality of a place is the type of person/people who created that place, and the type of people who frequent it.
When I’m in a certain place, I sometimes like to think about all the thousands of people who have come before me and sat in that spot, and the thousands of people who will come after me. And I like to wonder how my life will be different next time I return to that particular place.
Sometimes, I run out of new places. Sometimes I am destined to return to the same places … and I think it’s for the better that I do.
I live in the city I grew up in, and with that comes the propensity for a flood of memories to wash over me when I visit a certain place. When I go to the Tulsa Garden Center that is sadly now full of dead, poisoned roses, I am reminded of the time that the gardens were flourishing and my parents took me there when I was about 5. I was whining and complaining the whole time for one reason or another and missed the beauty of the flora around me.
Now that I’m a parent, I get to introduce my son to some of my favorite places, and see the magic of those places through his fresh eyes. A sleepy nature park becomes woods for a dragon and pirates to play in. LaFortune Park, one of my favorite places to play as a child, now has much cooler playgrounds, and he could entertain himself there for days.
Perhaps some of the most important places to me are spiritual places … places where I have felt God’s presence. I can’t go into the Prayer Gardens or Prayer Tower at ORU without feeling that God is right there with me. It’s a place where I’ve felt God since I was a child, when on Sunday afternoons my family would visit the bright blue fountains that used to fill the campus. In college, it’s where God would quietly direct me during those 4 years as I sought Him and His purpose for my life.
Sometimes, a spiritual place is much less formal that a prayer garden or a chapel or a cathedral. Sometimes it’s a closet. Sometimes it’s a bench at a park.
It’s wherever we can connect with God. Even the Bible was full of spiritual places — places where God moved again and again. So many miracles happened at the Jordan River, for example — the miracles of Naaman the Leper, Elijah and Elisha, and the baptism of Jesus.
Go to your spiritual place. If you don’t have one, find one. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It just needs to be a place where you experience peace, love, fulfillment, and most of all, God.
Where are some of your favorite places?