Tuesday, 14 January 2014

What Is Sanctuary to You?

Home, church, a place of protection, a Scottish croft, a Jewish schtel, a snow cave, a grain basket, a hotel, a beekeepers farm, a mountain retreat-all have been sanctuaries to different characters both fictional and real.
Deborah, a leasing agent, said her sanctuary is her home. "Home is a place where you take your faith, where you have your retreat. It's peace, comfort, safety, and security," she affirmed.
An apartment resident, a former Chicagoan, showed no hesitation in his choice: the Church and worship. He was adamant in his rejection of any other connotation.
Another resident, a young loquacious Indian wife named Sumi defines sanctuary as "anyplace that makes me feel good: a waterfall, a swimming pool, a place with people I feel safe with."
To a retired minister and his organist-wife, sanctuary is found in their religious faith, practiced not only in various churches but also in their everyday generosity as exemplified in their volunteer work and providing transportation to individuals without means of travel.
To my father it was escape to a fresh-water fishing camp where he could withdraw from the cares of business and family. It wasn't in catching a quantity of fish so much as it was in the quietness, the closeness to nature,
the hypnotic aura of a flat-bottom boat rocking gently in a river's current or on a lake's rippling surface.
In one of his literary works, Mrs. Warren's Profession, British satirist playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote that a hotel is a kind of sanctuary from the incessant demands of home life-the opposite of the leasing agent's acknowledgment of home as a sanctuary.
Hamish Macbeth, the lovable, crime-solving, totally unambitious Scottish bobby of M. C. Beaton's mystery series, finds sanctuary in the serene Highlands village of Lochdubh and, more specifically, in his humble police station and simple croft.
For the Jewish boy Reuven and his baby sister Rachel in Kathryn Lasky's Broken Song, a novel set in tsarist Russia, sanctuary is found, in turn, in violin music, especially Dvorak's classics; in a grain basket; and a snow cave. After their beloved schtel, a small village, is destroyed by brutal Cossack troops, the brother and sister alone escape.
Poet Emily Dickinson found her sanctuary, if you will, as a recluse in her own home, from which she created some of the world's immortal, terse poetic masterpieces on subjects that ranged from heaven, dying, and hope to nature, wine, and art.
For 14-year-old Lily Owens in Sue Monk Kidd's bestseller The Secret Lives of Bees sanctuary from an abusive father becomes a beekeeping farm in Tuburon, South Carolina with three black sisters, each with names based on the months of the year. Lily and her runaway black nanny find refuge and new life learning beekeeping and honey-making and soaking in the kindness and wisdom of August, the oldest of the three industrious sisters. Lily also learns about her deceased mother's past in this same sanctuary.
All creatures seek some form of sanctuary. Not all find it. A mother found such refuge forever eluding her desperate grasp. For 92 years she spent her long, tumultuous life trying to reconcile so many disparities involving her parents, nursing an ailing spouse, curbing the over-zealous behavior of two sons, struggling with ailments of her own, managing a business-ever struggling to balance her needs and the needs of others. If she did find a kind of refuge, it was a dubious one: doctor-prescribed medications for both physical and mental illnesses. She passed away in a nursing home. Bipolar drugs that would have tempered the extremes of her mood swings still awaited
Copeland is the author of The Patient Quest, a novella available Print-on-Demand, and four books published electronically by Kindle. He has been a teacher, journalist, editor, outside book sales manager, and special events coordinator for a large book chain. His e-mail address is copelandharry@charter.net. He has two grown children and three grandchildren. Copeland currently resides in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near Atlanta. The author welcomes feedback.

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