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Steps and Monasteries

I believe all of life is sacred. Each patch of grass, rocky path, piece of tile, sandy shore, carpet square, clunk of dirt, grocery aisle, country road, hardwood court, kitchen tile, cubicle floor, sidewalk bend, and city street beneath your feet can be holy ground, if you dare to believe it is so, if you dare to see with holy eyes.

That includes every confident step forward, every accidental step backward, every scattered step of every blurry neon night, every aimless step through deserts of nothingness—through fruitless efforts and empty dreams—every roaming step to find one’s self and fill the emptiness that not even your perception of God can fill, every divinely-inspired step, and even every misstep, which sometimes turn out to be the most inspired of all.

Still, despite all this that I believe to be true, there are sacred spaces our steps keep finding, spaces that act as monasteries—places of devotion, for processing and praying, for silence, solitude, and stillness—that call us back, time and time again, even if it is just for a season or a phase, eventually discarded into a life’s city of monasteries. Our steps always seem to find the monasteries because the monasteries rise out of the ground of both our wandering and intentional steps.

Today I am grateful for steps and for monasteries.

By Stephen Copeland

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