Whenever I can, I go into the Cathedral. It’s my home, my spiritual home, and it’s the place where I am safe and known and loved despite everything. It’s the place where I don’t have to pretend to be ok if I’m not, but where I can laugh and enjoy the company of true friends when I am ok. But more than that, the Cathedral is a place of silence. Even when there is gentle choral music piped into its vast spaces, it’s a place of silence. Not dense, flat silence, like an empty room. It’s living silence, breathing silence. It is Presence, beyond silence. As I move down the body of the Cathedral and place myself in a pew with my back to one of the strong pillars, I feel the space around me opening up. I feel that I am in the presence of something I cannot name. Often I don’t try to engage it – I simply sit, and breathe, and allow the silence to soak into me, allow It to engage me. It’s undemanding but not uncaring. It simply expands to absorb me. And in that silence, in that Presence, my thoughts still. My mind slows and the thoughts that clamour in my the contained space of my head suddenly have room to expand, room to breathe, room to be quiet. In that silence, I’ve sobbed my heart out. I’ve sought refuge from the demands of the day. I’ve come heavy-laden, and left slightly lighter. I’ve come exhausted, and left peaceful. The Cathedral is my home and refuge, a place where, paradoxically, I am forced to experience my fears and emotions, but where I am both safe and at peace.
I am grateful.