Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sacred Places

I went to a young man's funeral today. I really didn't know him well, but his closest friends are my closest friends, so it was rough. I am always nervous going to Catholic services because I don't know all of the rituals, I can follow along, but I like to know what they mean. As it turned out, many , many people showed up so I got to stand outside next to the roses and the beautiful carved doors. Some people were not happy to be outside, but I was elated. I could hear the music and the bells, I could feel the early morning sun on my face, I could smell the roses, and I could run my fingers over that beautiful door. I love doors, I am not really sure why. Maybe it has to do with first impressions, or the possibility of entering a new world with each door, I don't know. The door at the church is beautiful, it is an old door, with carvings in the wood and a huge iron handle. The whole church is beautiful.

So I was standing outside with this huge crowd of people, most of whom I didn't know, and Mass was going on inside. We couldn't hear much, so most people were talking amongst themselves. At one point someone started to sing, now we had heard lots of music from inside the church, the organ, the whole church singing together, but this was just one person singing an old song in Spanish. The whole crowd just stopped talking all at once, 500+ people standing in the sun, listening quietly (or quietly crying) to this one captivating song. It was beautiful. I started thinking about churches, and how most people consider churches and temples to be sacred places because "god resides there." Well, I am not a religious person. I don't particularly like organized religion. That does not mean that I am not spiritual, I believe that we are all connected, and probably what most people call god with a capital "G" is the same force that I believe connects us all. It occurred to me that what makes places sacred is that people gather there in times of hardship, celebration, whenever they need comfort. It is the people that give a place, be it a church, temple, a sacred circle, or a home, its power.

Later, I was talking to my friend, the one who was so close to the young man who passed away, and she told me that I was having a "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" moment, and we laughed. It was good to laugh on such a sad day.


No comments: