Last year, around this time, I wrote about a very sacred space. A few days ago, as I captured our four daughters sitting on this mosaic bench, our oldest’s last day of Elementary School, it simply felt right to add to this piece.
The truth is, I think about this space almost every day. I wasn’t able to wrap my head around why for some time. There were so many layers of simple beauty that occurred to bring this sacred space to fruition. And perhaps, I couldn’t figure out how to express my sentiments about this beautiful piece of art because there are so few sacred things that remain in our world.
Arms pulled wheelbarrows holding wire webbing and concrete supplies and knee-deep, worked to mold a shapely base. Arms loaded trucks with tiles, wagons with mortar and buckets with materials to bring to life an incredible concept. Little arms swept up debris around the bench, instead of taking their recess time to play. Little arms, wrapped around little shoulders as students passed by to see the unfolding of daily progress.
Hands scrubbed and brushed and dug. Hands gently found a place for every tile, plant and rock that belonged in that sacred space. Hands hammered tiles into tiny pieces, painted signature tiles for the pathway to the bench and folded onto knees to stand back, and marvel at the work. Hands held on to embrace others who also remembered tenderly the little one who gave this space meaning.
Ears listened as the 6th graders practiced for graduation: tiles tapping away. Ears listened as the PE coach taught his last spirited 1st grade class for the year: brush strokes to clean each defined color. Ears listened to the birds while hands placed the tiles for just the right fit : butter knives scraping away thin slate. Ears caught the hum of students in their blissful flurry of a school day : filing down each and every tiles’ edge. Ears heard butterfly wings flap as they passed by nearby flowers and took pause.
Eyes saw details and marveled at the finished product. Eyes were full of tears as children spoke in honor of Gwendolyn and how much she meant to us all. Eyes met with other eyes in the most sincerest of ways to feel connection, support and compassion. Eyes couldn’t help but see the grander scope of what this work really represented. And then eyes closed, and let the heart take over.
Sacred is something we don’t experience much in a world where everything is exposed, publicized and brought to surface. But this space is sacred. And the only thing more gravitating than sacred space, is sacred shared space. Eyes, ears, knees, arms, hands and hearts have all worked together to make it so.
We truly have a heart within our school. It faces the ocean at the edge of a continent. It calls attention to it in the subtlest of ways, by simply being authentically beautiful.