Sanctuary on the way to Church

Cedar Cabin at Homestead Cottages, Canyon Lake, Texas. Photo credit to Doug Gaidry III

My work has me all over the city and surrounding hill country marrying couples from all walks of life. And I provide other services for folks, as well. I preside at baby naming ceremonies, funerals and memorial services.  I teach, listen, pray with and for people. I preach for my colleagues. In fact, this Spring, I spent two Sundays with Reverend Chad Lawson’s delightful church and congregation in Canyon Lake, Texas. Now, it just so happens that Canyon Lake holds more than his church. It also houses my church.  Or maybe better stated, it houses my sanctuary.  Canyon Lake is where my little cabin retreat hide-away lives.

Now, I am taking liberty with the word “my”.  I do not own this cabin*. And it’s always “we” when it comes to this cabin.   This cabin is where we – my husband I – go to reconnect, rest, and nurture our marriage and our selves. Finding time and space to visit our little cabin was not always easy. Sometimes I didn’t want to hang out with my husband. Sometimes it was difficult to find babysitters or family to stay with our young children for a weekend. Sometimes it was hard to simply find a weekend of time that worked in our busy schedules. Lately, though, in a sort of bittersweet way, it’s been easier to get away. Our children are growing up quickly and we find ourselves at a threshold moment. We see empty nest syndrome coming at us fast and furious!  But that cabin?  That cabin has journeyed with us through parenthood, marriage, careers, births, and deaths.

When we realized I’d be preaching in Canyon Lake, we were able to arrange one of the weekends to include a stay at our cabin.  Our sanctuary . . . on the way to church.  Happy serendipity. These sorts of sanctuaries are vital to a marriage. I often describe marriage as the invisible, silent space that sits between spouses. It is very easy to attend to myself, to my husband, even (or especially) our children. But to our marriage? How do you attend to something you cannot see or touch?  Something that has no voice?   It requires particular attention and focus. It requires space and even time. Sometimes it isn’t even clear what to do with the space and time together. That’s part of the mystery of marriage, I think. It’s also counter-cultural.  Who, after all, really has time and space and money for such ethereal ideas (says your calendar and iPhone and chores and bank account)?  But, my husband and I just do it, and often we aren’t always quite sure why.

Sanctuary in a marriage is not always a favorite cabin, though.  In fact, given life, it most often isn’t. It may be a cup of coffee (or tea!) together on a Saturday morning. Or a walk after dinner. Maybe it is journal kept of ongoing conversations with each other. After seeing one of my sweet couples post a picture of the two of them together in a Lowe’s store one evening, I even think it can be a chore accomplished together.

Do you have sanctuary in your marriage for your marriage? Is there a sanctuary for your relationship? Would you be willing to suspend your expectations, your schedules, your routines to try something a little unknown for the sake of the two of you?  I hope the answer is yes, and if it isn’t? I know some great cottages in Canyon Lake.

* It is worth giving a shout out to the delightful Jean and Justin Robinson and the sanctuaries they’ve (perhaps even unknowingly) created at Homestead Cottages and Lakehouse Bed & Breakfast in Canyon Lake, Texas.  Visit them!