Brody: The symbolism of spirit houses

Ever heard of a spirit house? I don’t mean a real house with real spirits. I mean a little home for weary travelers on the journey of life to rest a bit, to lay a heavy head down and close eyes that have seen enough.

I used to have one. It was a gift from two friends who made it about the size of a shoe box but taller because of a top dome. I kept it by itself on a simple table in my foyer.

It was yellow and pale blue and decorated with seashells. The front door and two side windows were wide open. One could almost feel the gentle breeze entering, soothing tired furrowed brows.

Spirit houses began in Thailand as part of Buddhism. They are much bigger, and I read that today, they’re commonly used in their worship.

The guardian of the house is the spirit that watches over and protects the home and all in it. This idea of feeling safe appeals to me.

First of all, what does spiritual mean?

One definition is, “Concerned with or affecting the soul,” and “spiritus,” which means breath of God.

The definition I like best is, “The immaterial part of man.”

I kept searching to find out why this idea of a spirit house touched me. I found a quote from Nicolas Chemsort, “To enjoy and make others enjoy without doing ill to anyone, this is the foundation of all morality.”

Oh, how I believe this. Every time I looked at my Spirit House it filled me with sweet promise. Surely there will be peace as we all travel this journey.

And life is a journey we all take together. I believe God has promised never to leave us in darkness and loss.

But I am human and weak for the years of having a little Spirit House, front door and two side windows wide open and welcoming, reassured me life really is eternal and there will be safe little houses all across my path and yours.

I know God could never be contained in a shoe box. The Spirit House is an outward symbol for me of universal love — doors and windows open wide and peace within.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.