I have found myself in churches several times over the last few weeks. This hasn’t happened in the past decade, and unfortunately is not as a part of a great tour through a foreign country- my typical reason for going to a church. However, for someone who is not religious, I’ve had a disporportionate enthusiasm for churches for all of my adult life (with special fondness towards Catholic ones in particular). I like the beauty. I like the sacred energy. I like the calmness. Of course, I also like temples, shrines and synagogues. I’m not that picky.
During the last few weeks, I come to these quiet places of worship, not even places that come from my own spiritual tradition or necessarily represent my own thoughts or beliefs on the matter. I become like a cracked egg, a split watermelon, a ruptured orb. Whatever I delicately hold inside, in some dark and locked-down space, comes spilling forth. Hot tears flow, and I cry from my belly. And why here, in these quiet, beautiful places that honor a higher power that is not even necessarily of my understanding? I don’t know. Maybe I feel safe there. They are definitely peaceful places.
In case you were wondering, MD Anderson has a lovely chapel. Today, Native American flute music was playing on a boombox in the corner, and the altar was covered with candles, setting off a warming yellow light. But there wasn’t a single Kleenex to be found in the entire place, and I had to go snot-faced to the cafeteria to find some napkins. And what would I put on a comment card, if there were any? Need better supplies for emotional upheaval! But thanks for the candle and flute music, liked them alot.