Friday, February 10, 2012

Missing Peace

It’s been a long time since I have been in a church. So long I can’t actually remember. And then I attended two funerals in two weeks. Both celebrated with masses at a Catholic church.

I have never been comfortable at a Catholic mass. All the stand up, sit down, kneel, confuse me. The incense gives me a headache. Christ, in agony, staring down from a cross. Ugh. The genuflecting, bowing and crossing yourself is too complicated for me. And ever since I was little and watched a priest do the ceremony to prepare communion, I always thought it was a magic show and he would pull a rabbit out of the chalice. I still hope for it.

And yet as soon as I sat in this church, I had the same feeling I always do - a feeling of deep peace. Sanctuary. Surrounded by the Spirit, whatever that might be. It is a feeling I can easily achieve in almost any empty church/synagogue, at an empty beach or out in the deep solitude of a forest.  Unfortunately, I don’t get as many opportunities to frequent these places as I used to.

When I belonged to a church, I would often go and just sit in the sanctuary alone. That was before the interim pastor strangely accused me of being in love/obsessed with her and the elders, without ever even speaking to me, let me know I was no longer welcome there.  Even just to sit alone in the church on a weekday.

And then last year’s knee surgery took away my usual hikes into the wilderness. Grrr.

Purposely arriving early, I sat in this church waiting for the mourners to file in and the mass to start, and was reminded how much I have been missing this feeling. Not the attending church. No, I think my spirituality and beliefs have evolved way past that. What I am missing are those special places of solitude where I find that feeling, that peaceful sigh of the soul.

It has been a grueling couple of years both physically and emotionally for me. The healing has been hard work, but very productive. I have reached a level of emotional calm that I didn’t think possible.  Now I want to spend time listening to my inner heart.  To let my soul breathe in and out.  To find out what’s next. To experience that missing peace.

So I am writing this as a reminder to myself. To seek out more quiet, spiritual places. There must be other spaces that have that sacred sense of wonder and otherworldlyness. Any places that do it for you?

As a follow up, I just found out that the interim pastor who went on to have her own church, has been recently let go from that church.  Seems she creates problems wherever she goes.


  1. I am ready to go to the cathedral of the forest whenever you are ready.

  2. I am sorry for your losses.

    It still bothers me what LRC did to you, even though you say it was for the best. Yet they seem surprised that they are consistently losing members. It makes you wonder how many other people they told were no longer welcome there. They now focus on "entertainment" bringing in bands and huge projection screens. I, like you, go to church to get away from that constant media noise not to be bombarded with more of it.

    I can now find that kind of peace at my new church. Holding a newborn baby will also do it for me. And knitting will often bring me a meditative kind of peace.

    As for the infamous interim pastor, I am surprised she lasted as long as she did. I had heard there were the same kinds of problems there as here, but they couldn't afford to lose any members over it. I hear she went back to Michigan. Good riddance.

  3. Oh yes, the third leg - the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. I admire your wisdom in knowing you need all three, and your tenacity to achieve them. I have no doubt you will find what you are seeking.

    You remain in my prayers.

  4. You have always had so much to contribute and maybe your ministry is here...I find it more difficult to make time for sabbath too--that quiet reflection time and a space--indoors or out--that brings me to father/mother God beyond all understanding. It's the first step in making that time--blessings. Good to hear your voice again. Sorry I don't get over here as much as I used to.

  5. So glad you found a way to feel peace - I know you weren't aiming for this, but I will tell you that I find it inspiring. May you feel more places of peace inside and out as you continue...

  6. For me too, church. I love Catholic churches, I fell in love with them when I lived in Poland and spent many weekends wandering into different towns and seeing different churches. We just recently talked about going to church regularly again - I don't know, it's a big step. Esp for an avowed atheist like myself. But I do adore the quiet.

    Have you ever been in an isolation tank? I've always wanted to own one, I think I might get the same feeling in one too.