Wednesday, August 11, 2010

She Was Tired...

She was tired. And tired of being tired. And the 95 degree heat wasn't helping her mood any. As she walked around the corner, the heat shimmering off the asphalt of the street did nothing to help lift her spirits. The little point and shoot camera she carried felt like just so much extra baggage, I mean, after all, what was there to take a picture of on the sterile downtown streets boiling under the summer sun at mid-day? She crossed the street when the little "walk" symbol lit up - and was almost run over by the teenage punk with his cellphone to his ear who ran the red light. No, today wasn't a good day. And she didn't see any indication that it was going to get better.

She hadn't been doing much creatively lately, the little camera had been sitting in her pocketbook, unused.  Her art materials sat on their table at home, unused.  She had originally planned to try to find something interesting to photograph in the meditation garden of the beautiful old church on the corner but the harsh sun baked the color out of everything it touched and the garden looked dry and barren. She had never been inside the church, all of the churches in the downtown area had to keep their doors locked unless services were going on or they would be robbed of everything that could be carried out. But she decided to walk up to the door and see if she could see inside. On an whim, she pulled on the door handle. The heavy wooden door opened - it was unlocked! Inside, the sanctuary was very softly lit and completely empty. Feeling very much like a trespasser she took out her little camera and walked slowly down the center aisle. On either side light shown brilliantly through massive stained glass windows but didn't penetrate enough to overcome the dim shadows. Knowing that the little camera couldn't handle the contrast of this kind of situation, she proceeded to take pictures anyway. Maybe one of them would be worth keeping.

The sound of the front door closing startled her, and guiltily she turned to see a man walking towards her up the center aisle. "I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be in here, I just wanted to take a few pictures, and the door was unlocked" she said. "Go right ahead," he said, "I'm just here to get ready for Sunday's services."  He continued, "We are the only church in the downtown area that leaves our doors open. This is a church. People should be able to come in to talk with God if they want. I'll go turn the lights on so you can see better and then I need to get ready for Sunday." He smiled and walked away. She continued walking around, snapping pictures now that the lights were on, admiring the richness of the interior, the gilded angels on the ceiling, the huge pipes for the organ, the lighted lecturn with the large bible opened on it. After a short while, she sat down in one of the pews to review the photos,
hoping to find a treasure among them. Suddenly the church filled with the sound of the pipe organ at full volume. The beautiful rich tones of the music surrounded her and enfolded her. She sat stunned when the song finished. And then another glorious wave of music followed and when it, too, was finished she found herself crying. She was having her own private concert.  When she had run out of time, she was on her lunch hour and had to get back to work, she quietly walked to the organist, the man who had entered behind her earlier. She thanked him for the present he had given her. He smiled and nodded and began another, softer song as she left the sanctuary. The sound followed her out the door.

I can still feel the power of that music, the joy that enfolded me and filled me that day.  And I'm grateful.

Joy Journal: God's gift of beauty

1 comment:

Odd Chick said...

O my goodnes, that brought sudden tenderness to my heart and tears to my eyes. I know that God gives us gifts just when our soul is driest. Your writings and your photographs gave me a sudden lift to a day when I don't feel so good- thank you so much for sharing this very intimate moment.