Everywhere I look, people are busy. Women are often hurried and harried as we keep up with our busy lives. We move from our jobs, commutes, cars, buses and trains. We wait for flights in airports. We wait in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, and at countless other appointments. We gather to get our hair and nails done, buying and selling the things we need, bring our offerings to life’s table. We often meditate, pray and experience corporate worship. But where do we find true sanctuary?
For me, it has always been home. I believe in the sanctity of the nest. It began when I was growing up in a row house in Washington, D.C. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who was liberal enough to let me paint the walls of my room black and create a mural. In hindsight, the mural was awful, and the black walls were a bit dramatic. But that room reflected who I was at the time and gave me solace. I learned the joy and peace of my space. I learned the art of carving out a section of the world that swaddles, suits and supports me.
It doesn’t matter where you live. It matters how you live. You can have a funky, jacked-up life in a mansion, or create a peaceful palace in a studio apartment. How much square footage you acquire is of little concern in this matter. The space doesn’t have to be in a chic high-rise “deluxe apartment in the sky.” It needn’t be in an estate-lined gated community. Upscale is relative and irrelevant. But it does have to be yours—to reflect the things you love and the things that bring you comfort and peace. I challenge and invite you to make sure you surround yourself with beauty and your unique personal style. Colors, lines, music and art are good places to begin. Second-hand shops, antique stores and yard sales are great places to find things on a budget. My whimsical Dollar Store glasses share space behind closed cupboard doors with the Waterford Crystal and the antique red glasses and matching pitcher. Making a house a home is a lost art. We have to know that it affects our levels of stress and comfort. It has been said that, “You can’t see the flowers in the vase if there’s a sock on the floor.” Rid your space of clutter. Organize and personalize your space. It will make a difference.
The creams, taupe and beige in my living room envelope me in the most beautiful way. They say, “Welcome home.” The books on my shelves invite me to touch them, to run my fingers across their spines and remember the friends and strangers inside of their covers. The shiny lacquer on the piano, bruised and battered from the 13 military moves, still makes music for us to enjoy. The song from the piano keys or Joe Sample and Lila Hathaway can momentarily erase all memories of my “to-do list,” the project, the poetry reading, the meetings, conference calls and the slights and slaps from day to day.
When the world was a different kind of mean, and lines were visibly drawn, our mothers and grandmothers knew how to be safe at home. They knew how to create a barrier against segregation and hate with quilts and smiles, pretty crystal in the living or “front” room, and—most of all—warmth. Home was proud and pretty, with every room fulfilling its purpose. Let’s create sanctuary and invite our children, partners, husbands, lovers, family and friends in. Let’s get back to that. Let’s get back to making home our safe haven and holding that sacred.
Author and educator Casey Curry is married to her college sweetheart, a retired naval officer. They have four daughters (ages 25, 24, and 19) and Tori Rose, who is ageless. Curry currently lives in Odessa, FL, and is receiving acclaim for her debut novel, Promises, which she is promoting around the country.