Devotional 5/7/2020

Do you have a happy place in your life?  A place where you almost always find peace and rest.  A place where stress melts away and you are joyful.  I hope you do.  

This was the sermon prompt for the first days in one of my preaching classes.  We were given the prompt, 5 minutes to prep and then we were to speak for 3 minutes on our favorite place.  People stood and shared about memories of lakes and fishing, at their grandparents' homes, and in churches.  And you could tell that each loved to reflect on these places.  However, when I stood and shared the first reactions were a bit of disbelief and laughter. 

I have two places that I can just think of and be happy.  The first is my Grammy's attic. I can still smell it today and mentally walk the layout even though the house was sold after her death ten years ago.  But I shared about my other happy place- Target. 

Yep, I do mean the department store Target.  I never shopped at Targets when I was younger.  The first time I walked into a Target I was 22 years old and had just moved to Mississippi.  I had had a horrible day at work and I was lonely.  I did not want to go back to my empty apartment again. So I stopped at this store just to go somewhere else.  I walked into that Target and I was thrilled.  I loved the bright colors, the people all around, the items on the shelves.  I did not have much money to spend in those days but I used to go to Target, buy a soft pretzel and just wander often buying absolutely nothing.  

To this day, during rough weeks I can find a reason to make it to Target.  Conveniently that is where we buy Amanda's diapers. Even amidst COVID, I have been once (diapers are essential!) and while wearing I mask I still found peace and rest.  

The others in my class first thought I was joking about where my happy place was but I am not in any way.  And it is not about buying things, it is just about the atmosphere and now maybe the memories of how Target helped me get through some really hard days.  

Today, I would like to invite all of you to take the time to imagine your happy place.  If you can go there, that is great.  But we do not need to physically be there.  Bring the image of the place in your mind.  Take deep breaths and remember how it smell, how it felt.  Let the memories fill you.  Go there and rest in your happy place.  Mentally explore it again. Wander even though you are not lost.  It does not matter if it is silly or makes no sense to anyone else.  It is your place.  Allow the peace and joy of that place to fill you.  Then thank God for it.  Even if you cannot go there, give thanks for the place it has in your life.  I may be a little sad I cannot go to my Grammy's attic again but the memories of it are always pure peace and joy and I give thanks without reservation for it.  

Take the time to do this because we need to remember.  We need to remember that that are places that have touched our lives.  That are part of our memories and of growth.  And we need to give thanks that we have been allowed to experience these places. So go to your happy place today!  Find your peace and joy if only for a few minutes.  And then give praise to God. 

With love,