Shortly after finding my black feather, we arrived at St. Veit, one of our local churches. We have two churches which is unusual for the small size of town. I learned that my hometown was mentioned first in the year of 837, and actually consists of three different towns that grew together. This is said to have happened at the beginning of 14th century. As far as St. Veit, is was the same church that many years ago I had my own Konfirmation, so I was familiar with the inside. Plus Dad is buried in this cemetery which also has me returning to St. Veit’s.
After a short standing prayer, I took my seat on the heated bench. Everything seemed untouched and as I remembered. The altar, the cross, the Muriel’s and the eye of God on the ceiling. My eyes kept wandering through the benches, to the two upper floors, and back to the altar. I paused at the acoustic guitar standing next to the altar, and felt excited for what was to come. Somehow I knew that this service was going to be different from the last time I had been to church. I picked up on the impact it was going to have on me, before it even started, long before I realized it myself. I felt a connection to my own guitar and my ukulele, and was looking forward to hearing the sound fill the walls and the hearts of a community attending today’s church service. Finally, the service began, and my interest and attention was peaked at every word, every move, and every interaction. Several times throughout, I found myself with the utmost attention and focus. I was hanging on every word and my eyes stayed on the preacher-man who was trying to spread the word of God with today’s modern and realistic examples. The service lasted nearly two hours, but there was no other place I wanted to be. I was so hungry to listen, and I know that years ago I might have not been ready to hear the message. So much time had passed since I’d been here, and the years had come and gone with so much pain and suffering. Suffering in the world, around me, my fellow humans, as well as my own. The empath within always ensured that I would feel everything just a little extra.
Nothing physically happened throughout the sermon, and yet I felt a burden lifted. It was ok to be vulnerable, I didn’t had to be strong, and I was allowed to just be. Several times I felt so moved and overcome, I could have cried and barely held back the tears. I can’t explain it, and maybe the past weeks with Mom are turning me into a nervous wreck, but I didn’t think that this was fully the reason for how I felt. I witnessed something, and I’m still dissecting what happened. Did my mind make it up because I wanted to feel something, because it was time to come home? Home to what? Was it guilt from all the years missed in church? I had always said that I don’t need to go to church to prove my belief in God and to be a Christian. Was I wrong and had I tried to talk myself into something it wasn’t? Why did I feel so emotional all of a sudden? After all, I had found that black feather, and after all, maybe Dad was watching over me, and wrapped his arm around me, ensuring me that everything would be ok. I just didn’t knew what it was at the time, and was overwhelmed by the emotion of something I couldn’t pinpoint.
We sang many songs that day, including the Jesus Ballad. I had never heard it before, but the tune was all too familiar from Uriah Heep’s, Lady in Black. It was a major staple in my life growing up, and never would I have believed in a thousand years that this was how I would revisit this song. I was glad to pick up a copy of the sermon that included the lyrics to the song once we left church. But for now I sang the song full heartedly with the new unfamiliar lyrics written on a pamphlet, but a melody that was unforgotten. It was also the song our pastor played the acoustic guitar to. It brought an extra special touch to it, and I wish I could have recorded the moment, as well as the community singing it.
We went to church a second time that day and the same happened to me. I was looking forward to going, and I could have stayed longer. Whatever it was that I felt that day, I needed to feel more of it. To be protected, for my heart to be home, and to leave the troubles be for awhile. I felt safe and embraced. I wanted to remember these moments and took a copy of both sermons that day. One of the main things that stood out from the sermon, was that God seeks people vs. it being religion. Like I mentioned, I have always believed, although I haven’t been in church. Whether it is in God, or relating to the teachings of Buddhism, to the divine universe and the laws of Karma, I have always believed in a higher power. Something happened that day in church, something that I can’t explain in actual facts, but I think that I was ready to see and feel. God was seeking me, and I surrendered, and gave my troubles, pains and sins to God that day….
The chandelier is only lit on special occasions. With the Konfirmation of several people, no longer a child, but not quite an adult yet. Reason enough to be a special occasion, and still I wonder about the personal reasons that came into play for me. Maybe it was time to see the light, to shed new found hope into this dark path, and to realize, remember and celebrate the light that I was able to bring to Mom’s situation so far. Keep going, you are not alone and light is all around you, was the message I took from this day.