Holiness in our midst – Session 27

Holiness in our Midst


The lyrics to Buffy Sainte-Marie’s folk song Quiet Places have been singing in my head lately. The haunting tune even breaks through the clutter of ugly political ads and headlines with new and scary words like ISIS and Ebola. In 1973, she wrote:

In the early, pearly morning,
When the sun begins to rise,
And all the flowers lift their faces,

Show me, show me, show me,
In a world that’s all gone mad,
That there are still
Quiet Places.


The song seems to ask me to name where I go when I feel surrounded by chaos. My answer, at least for the past several years, is the Colo (IA) Public Library. The soothing sounds, sights, and smells are vintage small-town Iowa. I always take a look at the display cabinet by the door where local patrons exhibit their collections. Recent ones have featured Iowa State Fair memorabilia, minnow buckets and fishing gear, and lighthouses. When I suggested to librarian Joanie Jamison that I might write about her library as my quiet place, she reminded me that it is often anything but quiet. Yes but, I counter, its noises are comforting noises. I find deep peace in the trains rumbling down the tracks across the streets, the grain trucks unloading at the nearby elevator, and the children reading to themselves or each other in the children’s booth or on the big reading rug. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the aroma drifts in from the meal enjoyed by seniors in the community room next door. On summer movie afternoons, I can smell popcorn, popped earlier in the library’s very own popcorn machine.

I can be found there most mornings writing away on Computer #4 or rummaging through the stacks for Amish fiction or Iowa/regional non-fiction books. Joanie and her assistants (Jane Coughenour, Patty Geer, and Mary Lou Haddock) graciously assist patrons in finding books and movie rentals. They answer my (numerous) computer questions. When I asked for list of their Amish fiction books, one was handed to me the next week. It was personalized with the word “Read” by the ones I’d checked out. Such a full-service place! Along the south wall, hanging from two selves, are 70 cake pans that can be checked out. (They are always returned clean!) Pick a children’s character and there’s mold for it: Mickey Mouse, Dora the Explorer, Barbie, or Thomas the Tank Engine. For holidays, choose molds shaped like a Halloween wicked witch, a Valentine heart, or a Christmas star. Homey touches abound here!

Some find quiet in nature or sanctuaries, but I find my place of rest encircled by community in a treasure of a local library.

STORY CIRCLE QUESTION: Where is your quiet place?


  1. Read the above reflection aloud.
  2. Write a journal reflection your quiet place. How did you discover it? What drew you to it?


  1. Read aloud Session XXVII.
  2. Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Question.