More Than a Place

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Than a Place
Transforming the way we notice our surroundings.

It’s amazing what can be held in a place.

There are memories, snapshot stories of time, feelings. A place is never just a physical space. It has just as much past as the people who visit.

A couple years ago, I visited St. Edwards University to support a close family friend. I had no attachments to the school. It was my first time ever stepping foot there, and the only building I cared to know the location of was the gym where my friend would be performing.

But for my parents, it was different.

St. Edwards University was the place they first met. They noticed every change since they had gone to school there, had a story for every turn, every building. They could have walked around the school for hours, and to them it would be much more than the University that held the State Championship Gymnastics Tournament. It wouldn’t be just a “pretty campus” or a “good school” or any stock description found in a pamphlet.

To them, it would be the beginning of a love story.

This is the field where we first met.

And that’s the stairwell your father yelled down when I didn’t call him after he gave me his number.

And this building here used to be a dorm room…

Stone and glass, plaster and wood. We make buildings and within them we make memories. Memories that last much longer than the building.

Right now we live in a culture that moves from place to place so fast. We don’t take the time to look because we know we don’t need to. We have cell phones, cameras, so many different ways to capture a place without committing it to memory.

And that scares me. It scares me how very little we take the time to notice the details, the feeling, the beauty and power held in a place. 

It’s time to start paying attention. It’s time to mark the places we’ve been with more than our digital footprint. Let’s mark them with our memories, our feelings, our attachment instead. Let’s fill each place with stories. Let’s make every detail, every turn, every speck on the wall worth being noticed, remembered, talked about.

Because without the memory, the feeling, and the attachment, a place is just a place. Stone and glass. Plaster and wood. Nothing more than four walls and a title.

We are more than skin and bones and blood. We are more than everything we are made of. Shouldn’t our buildings be the same?

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