Driving home from a supply run, I usually have some time to let the mind wander. Traffic is lighter than on most common roads and I guess you could say that I am taking the path less travelled. I am driving away from the hectic and bustling life to a place that spells peace and serenity for me. There is time to sightsee and I am never in a hurry anymore. I can appreciate these subtle changes that bear such a huge impact, knowing that it hasn’t always been the case and I once too chased a very different life. Actually it’s been a few years since jumping off of the hamster wheel that I purposely work on slowing time and therefore life down. I seldom drive fast anymore and if I do, it’s because I want to and not because I have to. I am the one that will show up early for any appointment, factoring in extra time for the unforeseen, just in case. I guess my effort is to make everything last longer. To live every moment and never get into such a rush that I am robbed that pleasure to enjoy time. A lover of music, my love and commitment to make time last and marvel in it’s stillness has translated into that I drive in silence most of the time. The radio is off and the favorite tune is on mute as if not to distract me from my surroundings and taking in the moment.
On my trips there is always enough time to look for Pronghorn Antelopes found within this area. Somehow they always appear out of place, like their exotic markings should belong to a continent like Africa or somewhere else like that. I smile and greet them like friends, like one who understands, like one who is feeling out of place at times myself. I greet you and I know what it’s like I say to myself as I pass by and smile. Snow had fallen overnight and while the roads were clear, the mountains and fields were covered in white. The higher elevation showcased trees, crisp as if frozen in place rather then covered by a blanket of soft snow. Cinnamon was curled up on the seat next to me and had fallen asleep from the smooth monotonous sound of the engine. Soon enough she’d be up once we took our turn of the main road, knowing we’d be home soon. She loves living in the tiny abode and while I was worried about her initially, bringing her into such a tiny space, I think she loves the energy there the most, feeling perfectly content and at peace.
Driving that morning, I was thinking about the power of prayer. Soon, Germany popped into my mind and I was thinking about a trip taken a few years ago. Mom was celebrating her 80th birthday which was a very deal. Something different happened during that trip and I noticed somewhere along the line that I felt drawn to the church. Up until now I had never experienced entering or going to church with such an awareness, such an intensity, such a feeling of being so overwhelmed. I’m not quite sure what had changed. It wasn’t only the church in my hometown that I felt drawn to, but also churches in general. Previous sightseeing trips always expressed various interests for a city or town, never specifically for a church. If it happened to fall within the program, so be it, but it was never planned. During that year I took a trip to Mittenwald Bavaria for my own birthday. The area is known for ornate chapels and churches everywhere and again, I felt drawn to them. Wherever I went, if there was a chapel within sight, I had to enter and visit. I remember it well for many reasons. Overnight into my birthday, while staying at a guesthouse in the area, I was awakened by something I couldn’t immediately pinpoint. Something had bitten me underneath the left eye and it started to swell shut immediately. By the morning it was completely closed and the left side of my face had swollen to un proportionate dimensions. I always thought I looked a bit like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but I guess that’s not either here or there and I definitely won’t post a picture of it. The swelling lasted for nearly a week, although relief was soon within reach.
During breakfast we were serenaded by the sound of several church bells near by. It was nothing short of magical to hear this heavenly sound while standing on a big terrace, being surrounded by giant granite peaks. Soon we were off to a little stroll through the neighborhood and came across our first chapel. I entered quietly and sat down, hands crossed in prayer. The inside was beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and burning candles. The ceiling and walls had ornate paintings of Angels in heavenly scenes. Statues lined the outer perimeters all the way to the front Altar. Above it a giant cross with Jesus crucified. I remember sitting in silence, staring at the cross and feeling such pain and sorrow inside of myself. Not for myself but for Jesus, for they didn’t know what they were doing. For what had happened and how we had failed him. I felt embarrassed for humanity, how could something this horrible ever transpire. I remember tears trying to escape from the closed shut, swollen eye, and all of a sudden my discomfort and trouble seemed small and insignificant compared. I sat for a long time and each church I entered afterwards had a similar effect on me ever since. Despite of putting my own troubles to the side, from the moment I entered the first church, overcome by emotions, my symptoms and my swollen face felt comforted.
I was surprised that this memory showed up during my supply drive that morning, but then again there are no ordinary moments. I took it as a sign and said a prayer for a friend. I felt the need to ask God for forgiveness, for his sins as well as my own. To smooth and comfort uncertain times for him and to bring healing and light to his soul if it is meant to be in his destiny. Asking for forgiveness and surrendering any sin or wrongdoing, brought tears of relief. Not only was the forgiveness of someone (God) much greater than me necessary and needed, but it also required the forgiveness from myself and whatever I considered in my own eyes as a wrong doing. Sin, mistake, wrong doing or wrong turn, poor choice, or whatever else you label it, whether you have to ask for forgiveness from higher up or from yourself, soon or later you will have to answer. You will pray for your sorrows and you will need to have faith to be forgiven. Trust the process and feel love unconditionally.