Monday, May 19, 2008

Chasing God

(I am not Christian, but that is the language I know how to speak)


* * *

Every time I come here:

This is it. This is the time I have gone too far. He will not be here this time.

The cobbled streets are grey with damp and edged with snow that melts at my step. The Minnewater is before me, open boats laden with tourists even today, their umbrellas blooming over the gunwales, bottoms shifting on the hard bench seats as they dutifully point their cameras left and right, five houses in a row with five styles of roofline, history in a digital frame. I cross the bridge, the heavy wooden doors open, the whitewashed buildings of the Beguinage low before me.

There is a carpet of daffodils, where I expect last year’s green commons. They stop me in my tracks and steal my breath. They are a sign to me in all my arrogance, a sign that no matter how shitty a person I am, no matter how much of my holy talents I squander on the maintenance of Big Lies, God still gives with both hands, God still loves endlessly, boundlessly, God forgives the unforgivable and loves me despite my profound absence of loveableness.

Inside, the church is warm – signs entreat donations for “HEATING” in four languages. There is the chanting of vespers, and I know as I enter behind the German girls sharing an ipod that this is not atmospheric recording to aid in the parting of tourists and their money. The chant is slightly flat, in partial tune from daily use and not from anything so useless as practice – how can living this chant be practice? – it is round, perfectly incomplete, the edges soothed by acoustics, the nuns’ honking their noses through each others’ singing (older in full habits, those merely fifty- or sixty-something in fleece pullovers) coughing through the readings, they are not performing, they are not living a Big Lie, they are not lost and afraid all the time, depending on the hands that yank away. They are here. They reach for God as I do, but I am tentative, stepping to the edge of the crosswalk knowing in my head that cars stop here, but still unconfident enough to hover at the pavement, the drivers waving their hands in frustration – are you crossing? Are you stopping? These women, I am sure, stride into the road, the Bruges drivers accelerating to a stop just as they do in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris. These women stand at the edge of the table and fall backward into the arms of God.

I light a candle. I always light a candle. A nun reads in Flemish. The chapel is filled with the warmth of candles and expensive heat and the smell of wax. I do not have the right to pray, but I hope I can be good.

6 comments:

Randysrandy said...

Mandy - Everyone has the right to pray. RR

Karrine said...

Karrine
karrine.hermedia@gmail.com

Hi,

I like your blog.
I would love to see your blog listed at HerBlogDirectory.com

Mandy said...

Oddly enough, for the first time the other day, I went into a church -a particularly lovely one - and felt not one whiff of God.

I'm hoping it's not a trend.

randysrandy said...

Mandy - A church might just be the worst place to look - actively look - for God. There is so much of man's attempt to express God, invite God in, evoke his presence through symbols that define the sect, that it can serve to obscure the presence of God. But don't give up. RR

Clix said...

Mandy - I'm with RR on this one. Good, not good, whatever, everyone has the right to pray.

Things seem to have been confusing, frustrating, and/or upsetting lately. I'm sorry to hear that. If you need someone to talk at and you'd like my number, email me at my yahoo address (gwydionsidhe).

I doubt I can fix anything. I'll try to offer thoughts without advice. Mostly, I can listen, if you'd like.

essay paper said...

I got a teary eyes when I'm about to finish the blog. I don't remember when was the last time I went to Church. And I stop praying too. I realise that I need to talk to God at once. Thanks for the inspiration