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Sacred Places

February 21, 2006

Kim’s mom is doing well. She determined this morning it was time to learn to make coffee on crutches. So I would say she is on the road to recovery. She should now set off metal detectors, with 11 pins and two plates in her ankle.

Do you have any places that are sacred to you? I can think of several but one recently has been on my mind. On my last visit to my hometown (the navel of universe). I needed a replacement door handle for a aluminum screen door. My mother had rigged some sort of wooden drawer handle to the door to provide the needed handle. There was no sign of the original handle so I made the trip with two of the boys in two down the road to Shelly’s.

Shelly’s as we call it is sort of a general store. They provide the town with everything you could need to build a home and furnish it. They also sell seed and feeds and meet other farming needs as well as Gin cotton. That is not all they sell but you get the idea.

They had just what I was looking for. As I followed my sister’s highschool boyfriend, who I don’t think recognized me, through the store to retrieve my door handle kit, I glanced down the aisle that starts at one of the doors. It is the place where the coke cooler is and many a man has set and listened to tales at that location. I used to stop in after school and buy a coke and try to catch my distant cousin Otis working his craft to the crowd. I don’t know if that happens anymore. The other end of the aisle is where I glanced.

But I didn’t visit.

I wish I had.

Just down and across from the paint mixer. Across from the bags of seed and the smell of those seeds sits one of my sacred spots. Next to the nail bin (the one pictured is close,but too new and to well lit) one day I was escorted by JP Shelly. Some locals call him Red still, but he was always JP to me. JP always seemed to have a heart for God. He led singing vibrantly in our church. Maybe a little fast for some folks to keep up with, but I can still see his face reddening and his fist pumping out his favorites. JP took me down by the nail bin to let me know he was worried about my relationship with God. He wanted me to know that he noticed and was concerned. That is the week I became a Christian. JP’s brother Rubel has taught me a lot of things through his ministry, but his brother has been a greater influence on my life in many ways.

Back by the nail bin that day my heart was pierced. When I see those pendants with the spike or nails shaped into a cross, I think of that day by the nail bin. When someone cared enough to say so.

What about you, what are your sacred spaces.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2006 3:33 pm

    There are many, but the one I think of first is a log on the beach in Gulf Shores. I was at a particularly low place when God and I had a long discussion there one day.

    My heart was pierced and I repented of some attitudes and finally realized that some sins I was still beating myself up about were erased in his book. I felt cleansed and renewed sitting on that beach.

  2. February 21, 2006 3:57 pm

    St. Faith’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey in London.

    Radnor Lake in Nashville.

    Sisters of the Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama.

    My daughter’s bedroom.

  3. February 21, 2006 4:50 pm

    Camp Wyldewood

    Harding’s Campus

    The Walk of the Cross in Malibu

    Any back water lake with Crappie in it.

    Salido Creek at Camp Tahkodah

    The beach at Congotown, Liberia

    African Christian Hospital, Nigeria

    2315 Charlestown, Searcy

  4. Angie Burns permalink
    February 21, 2006 8:49 pm

    Tommy… Thanks so much for sharing that. I think that would be a GREAT thing for all elders to share about their lives to draw their sheep closer to them. Sharing things like this sure beats telling where you’re from or the date you were baptized or showing your skills at rightly dividing the word… Oh, how we need to know each other… to really KNOW each other!

    For me… LONG stories about what God has done for me and in me between these lines, but I’ll have to say…

    – The Calhoun City Church of Christ
    – MSU’s University Christian Student Center
    – The basement of the Sunset Church of Christ where we had AIM classes and the balcony of the Heritage apartments in Lubbock, TX

    Many, many more… but God specifically used those in a foundational way to reach me.

    And boy do I have an extensive list of sacred people God has used! (Look in the mirror and you’ll see one!)

    Love to you and Kim,
    Ang

  5. February 22, 2006 6:31 am

    What a cool story!

    South Padre Island

  6. February 22, 2006 12:35 pm

    I missed out on your post yesterday afternoon, Tommy – I’m sorry. I came by in the morning but never got back making my “rounds.” And this is an interesting topic.

    First – I’m glad your mil is doing better. But if she’s got all those pins and plates, you guys really need to get her a scooter, I’m telling ya. You know. You saw me “zipping” around. Okay – Tom calls it “careening” around bouncing off the walls, but what does Tom know, right?

    I actually caught him on my scooter Monday night trying to move it out of the way of something and he “accidentally” hit something for the first time. You should have seen his face. It was hilarious and I just wish I’d had a camera to get the look on his face.

    Meanwhile, I’ve got the name of a painter to call just as soon as I get off the scooter. Unless you guys would like to come back down for one day to work on our hall and all the adjacent doors. Oh – and a couple of new places I’ve christened.

    Oh well . . . back to the topic at hand.

    This question reminds me a lot of your “best meal ever” question in that I cannot think of any places, in particular, without thinking relationally – with other people and specific circumstances. I might have to think about this one for a good while and then write a post on it, myself, because I like the question and know exactly what you’re talking about. Yeah. Absolutely.

    For now – I’m thinking of cemeteries. Many different cemeteries many different places and times and involving many different people. Not all cemeteries, either. Just certain ones that seem particularly sacred to me.

    Very old cemeteries. Ones that go back through generations to before the Civil War. Back to the beginnings of this country before the Revolutionary War, even.

    Very old cemeteries down in East Texas, around Mississippi and along the coast. Places were many babies and small children are buried, young mothers, entire families wiped out in terrible Yellow Fever epidemics.

    The old Biloxi cemetery where Tom’s dad is buried and where we plan to be buried next to him.

    The cemetery up at Abernathy, Texas where my little brother Mark and my dad are buried. My maternal grandparents, my uncle and aunt, cousins, neighbors across the road growing up, the parents of most of my friends from school growing up. Most of the whole town of Abernathy from when the town was started around 1910.

    Military cemeteries. We cannot go to Washington, D. C. ever without going to Arlington National Cemetery, without going to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the continuous vigil of the guards 24 hours a day, every day and night of every year, in every kind of weather. I cannot go there without crying over these brave men and women who fought so valiantly for our freedom.

    The cemetery at Quantico, where my unborn grandson, Davidson Christian O’Neil, is buried.

    The cemetery out on the edges of Abilene where my sister’s seven month old only son, John Patrick Holland, is buried.

    The cemetery in Brandon, Mississippi, where Tom’s 33 year old beautiful Kim is buried at the foot of a large shade tree full of chimes and bells people have brought to remember. There is a stone bench there under the canopy of chimes and shade and God dwells there, too. He keeps vigil over Kim’s body as her soul awaits resurrection.

    These are all very sacred places to me where God resides over those who have gone on before and who waits for us to come if we should die before this earth ends.

    These are places of silence and solitude, memories and sometimes tears. But most of all there is thankfulness of heart that our lives are never really lost, but go on, leaving only our temporary earthly bodies behind.

  7. February 23, 2006 8:41 pm

    Hey Big T… I’m testing out squarespace right now to use as a blogsite. It has lots of capabilities for expanding into what I would like. But right now I just want to try blogging… So take a look whenever you have time. I’ll be gone to Birmingham Friday & Saturday but I’ll check in on you later!

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