God in the sauna

“Up! Up! Up!”

“Baba? Baba? Baba?”

“Mama mama mama!”

These sweet sounds punctuate my days, harmonizing with toy cars zooming across wooden floors and Goldfish plunking onto high chair trays. I delight in the cacophany of toddler noises that fill our home. And yet, they often drown out the still, small voice that is also speaking to me.

My theology tells me that God is omnipresent—everywhere, always. Psalm 139 says that whether we ascend to the heavens or descend to the depths, God is there holding us fast. Cognitively, I assent to this. But just because someone is present doesn’t mean you’re listening to them.

In these days of raising two energetic and hilarious little boys, there are only a few places I have found that provide the opportunity to be still and listen with “the ears of my ears.” One is a solo walk outdoors, often gifted to me by my husband on an evening or weekend. Another is a little more unexpected: the gym sauna.

A few times each week I enter the dry warmth of the sauna, which smells faintly of vanilla and cedar. I settle onto the wooden bench in this 10×10 haven and let the generous silence envelop me. The only thing this room asks of me is to be still and breathe. It’s here where I listen to that gentle whisper and know it speaks the truth. It’s here where I join with Julian of Norwich in remembering that, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

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