When I was in college at Oklahoma State, a new coffee shop opened called, The Third Place. You could play board games or chess, play pool or study. It was a fun place to hang out without alcohol or smoke(remember when people smoked in bars!?). They called it the “Third Place” because they wanted to be that place besides your work and your home where you spend your time and hang out with your friends. Kind of like Cheers or Central Perk. Now, we only get one place, but with a little mindfulness, you can expand your location within your location.
First, consider, what are the tasks of my day. Then notice the locations tied to those tasks, like go to school, work, grocery store, exercise class, etc. During this pandemic, I find myself doing all of those tasks while either sitting on the couch or running after my 15 month old daughter, Samantha. Slowly I have noticed that Sammi has a pattern, and I can suggest a routine even with playing in this room for a while, then in the other room, then having a snack, and when I do it the same way for just a few days, she catches on to the changes as part of a structure to her day. Our guest room is becoming my exercise room, because that was just the best space in the beginning, and now when I go in there, I am ready to strengthen my muscles, like I was at the gym.
For better or worse, we are starting to establish routines during the pandemic, and you can attach locations in your home to those routines for positive results. For instance, on Sundays as you prepare for church, you can get all dressed up and sit together as a family as you stream the service. You can talk with your kids about what you miss about the space in your church building, and make that happen in your living room. Maybe you could make an Easter Banner or pretend to be the worship band on stage. A few people in my congregation used washable paint to decorate their front doors and I followed their example with the windows in our dining room. Even a simple candle or two can make a space feel more holy, no matter what your religion is.
Is there a particular task or set of tasks that are frustrating to you during our stay at home orders? How could you improve your satisfaction and creativity by selecting a location which reminds you of your classroom, or gym or favorite coffee shop? Are you having a hard time remembering what day it is? Make a funny calendar with your family to do something special on Fridays, or wacky on Wednesdays. One of my friends have been insistent on keeping Taco Tuesdays, even if they have to make them at home. Even if you have never had a reflection or devotional time, you can even attach that to a specific spot or chair in your home.
I offer this blessing for you: May our creative Maker of the Universe grant you the gift of creativity wherever you are. And may all spaces and any space hold for you a bit of sacredness and peace. In the many names of God, Amen.