Target is a sacred place for me.
Admitting this, I'm sure you're wondering how a store which is all about consumerism can be a sacred place to a girl who believes in a moderation-consuming-less kind of simplicity.
I can't tell you exactly what it is about Target, but it's a calming place to me.
People in general don't rush through Target the way they do in Walmart or Kmart. They browse and move slowly through the aisles, warmly lit with shelves only so high. Clean and calm.
I find that Shoppers interact with fellow shoppers and with employees a little more slowly, a little more calmly, a little more kindly. For me, it's a great place to watch humanity interacting with humanity.
The big wigs at Target designed it to be so.
They designed it to make you feel comfortable, at home. They designed it to make you want to spend long periods of time browsing and perusing and hopefully buying more than you originally came in for.
And their design works.
Reasonably priced items. A wide variety of product, but not so much product you feel overwhelmed by it. And a generally tranquil shopping experience.
In college, I started going to Target to unwind. When studies got to be too much, when friendships and relationships were in chaos, when my brain felt twisted and knotted up too tight - I would get in my car and drive across Abilene to walk the aisles until calm and serenity returned.
It became ritual.
And now, although I don't go there to unwind as often as I did in college, Target's still the place I go when I'm all wound up. When I can't sit at home, but I don't have anywhere to go. When a walk in the park feels a bit too lonesome. When I need to see humanity being a little bit kinder and a little bit nicer to one another.
When I'm in those spaces, I go to Target to see humanity being calm and slow and kind.
Really Target is a sacred place to me because it is a place I slow down. It is a place where I take the time to notice the sacred everyday kind of moments. It is a place where I see humanity, where I listen to it, where I breathe it in. It is a place where I admire the simple beauty of you and me interacting with each other in a slow and simple kind of way.
I think these commonplace, everyday kind of sacred places are important.
We need these places to recover ourselves, to restore us to the us we were before that phone call, before that paper was due, before that argument, before that disagreement with our boss, before that stressor we just didn't need.
We need commonplace, everyday kind of sacred places because we don't all have a mountain in our backyard. Because we don't all have rooms with a view. Because we don't all have beaches to stroll on. Because we need something close by, we need something readily available, we need something right now.
I've lounged and read at sacred coffee shops. I've sat under sacred trees. I've run on sacred trails. I've shopped at sacred stores. I've drank at sacred pubs and dined at sacred restaurants.
Sacred, everyday places which restore me to my self and restore my heart to faith and God and belief in humanity.
If you don't have a sacred everyday place, I suggest you look around your world.
Where are the spaces you feel most you? Where are the spaces which restore you to yourself, calm you and help you unwind the wound up? Where are the spaces you can enter inside yourself and one by one clear out the worries and the fears and the stressors? Where are the spaces where you can admire humanity being human?
Find yourself a sacred everyday place, and thank God for meeting your there and bringing the holy into the not so holy, the sacred into the everyday.