An Oasis in the Desert


Last week I started a new job; the first full-time job away from home I’ve had in 16 years. Though I’ve been writing and mothering for years now, my new position as a full-time reporter at our state’s largest daily newspaper has meant some obvious change for our family of seven, including a lot of mental and physical adjustments.

My mind is engaged and moving in a positive direction, but my brain is saying, “Information overload!” and “Can’t I just sleep an extra 15 minutes? What are you trying to do to me?” Similarly, my body is enjoying the new challenge of dressing in work clothes each business day, but it’s also feeling a tad weary from the transition.

But this, too, is true: I’m thoroughly enjoying my new environment and co-workers and the continual flow of ideas. I’m loving doing interviews and collecting stories like one collects seashells at the ocean to arrange them nicely for others to enjoy. It’s a pretty sweet deal all the way around.

But I’ve been needing something…a place to collect myself midday. And this week I finally made the connection.

Our newspaper is kiddy-corner from our state’s only abortion facility, and a few steps from that, a relatively new Visitation Chapel has been set up, primarily to pray for those who enter the facility and come out forever changed. It’s only open on abortion days and anyone can come throughout the day to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

Yesterday, after a planning meeting, I had about a half-hour to spare. I’d already eaten lunch so didn’t have a need for food consumption, but I did have a great need for decompression.

I couldn’t believe how few steps it took to find my way into a small corner of heaven. This is the view from the inside of the office complex where the chapel exists, looking toward my new work place.

Though I wasn’t able to snap any photos inside the chapel, at least I was able to track my journey into my midday oasis.

As I sat there, hanging out with the Lord in that sacred space, I felt all of the stress of the past week and a half flow out of me. It felt very similar to the time I spent at Carmel of Mary Monastery this summer for a writing reprieve. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as long; I was at the monastery for a blessed week. But it did the trick. It was just what I needed.

I know the chapel was not set up specifically to meet my needs. The Bishop didn’t have that in mind when he set about renting the space for people to pray. But it feels personal to me at this juncture — a gift from God. I feel deeply blessed and wholly gratified that this will become part of my new routine. I look forward to spending time here each week in search of “white spaces,” as my friend Mary calls them; moments of rest in the midst of a busy life.

Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings, including this unexpected treasure!

Q4U: Do you have a midday oasis? Do tell!

Copyright 2012 Roxane Salonen


About Author

Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website,

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