Creating sacred space. Often this is expressed in needing the room in our lives to breathe. I hear this request frequently from nurses I talk with in my day-to-day work. It’s repeated in the requests I pray for in my community. I believe it’s a universal need. Stresses in our lives build. A major life event occurs: Sometimes it’s an unexpected or unwanted diagnosis. Sometimes it’s a planned event such as a wedding, the birth of a baby, preparing for finals, graduating from nursing school, or taking your boards.
I found myself recently seeking space while sitting on a gurney in an ER as my husband and I waited for my X-rays to arrive. I’d had fallen backwards from a retaining wall in our yard while planting daylilies from my mother’s and grandmother’s gardens into my own. The stone I stepped back on shifted and down I went. My left ankle had a baseball-sized area of swelling pushed up through my sock.
While in the ER, my husband received an alert on his phone. His MRI results were back. As I read through the radiologist’s report, I looked up at my husband and told him, “There are changes in your MRI. It confirms what we’ve been seeing. It looks like Alzheimer’s.” As tears filled my eyes, I told him, “We’ll walk through this together, babe. I might be hobbling on one foot, but we’ll do it together.”
As we left the ER with my sprained ankle wrapped and supported by a brace, I felt numb. I kept reminding myself to breathe. We were entering a new journey together. Space was needed. Sacred space to grieve, to laugh, to plan, to pray, and to begin communicating with others.
As I shared these life events with the leaders of our NCF team and listened to the challenges and upcoming plans they were experiencing individually and in their own families, I was reminded of the gift we give each other through our presence, vulnerability, and openness with one other. We listened to each other. We prayed together. We prayed for wisdom in allowing God to create space within each of us to hold the complexity of life. We acknowledged our weakness. We gave permission to each other to let go and to say no. We affirmed for each other the presence of God in the day-to-day events of our lives. It was needed sacred space.
This sacred space is fostered in community together. It’s the heart of the ministry of Nurses Christian Fellowship. It’s shared through the articles in the Journal of Christian Nursing and communicated through stories shared on our blog. It’s found student and professional nurse groups gatherings. It’s a part of our Sunday evening prayer times and a focus in the Bible studies we create.
Sacred space is what God desires with each of us. Give yourself permission to breathe, to celebrate, to grieve, and to be present. Do it in community with God and with others who can remind you of truth. Sacred space changes lives, starting with our own.
Christy Secor RN, DNP, CDWF, is NCF’s Professional Ministries Director.
All the opportunities and resources Christy mentioned are described on our website. Download a Bible study, join an in-person nurses group or take part in an online prayer time.