I am standing in the doorway of my chapel – that sacred space of my own creation. I have to admit that I am somewhat surprised and bemused to find myself here right now. It has been a few years since I darkened this doorway and I am curious as to how I ended up here. The writing instructor suggested the opening line, “I am standing in the doorway...”, and somehow I was swept up and carried down the hallway and plunked into this open and very familiar doorway.
I first constructed this chapel almost twenty years ago as a refuge that I could slip away to on my own whenever I chose. At first it was a very ornate space, rivalling Bernini’s work in St. Peter’s Basilica, or so I thought. Every possible embellishment was included from stunning stained glass windows to beautifully carved wood and rich gold gleaming everywhere. Over the years I removed the excesses. First to go were the fancy (and fanciful!) carvings, then the highly polished metalwork, the kneelers, the pews, the fine linens, tapestries and stained glass. Finally about seven years ago I took out the altar, leaving just dirt floor, bare walls and ceiling, and a single side entrance from a narrow hallway, the doorway in which I now find myself. This was the place where Godde and I check in with each other. We have laughed here, cried and screamed, dreamed and wrestled with difficult truths here. This was the sanctuary of my soul.
Not much seems to have changed since I was last here. In fact, I feel like I’ve slipped into an old pair of shoes and a favourite sweater. The high raftered ceiling stretches out its long dark arms above me, embracing so many chapters of my story. Oh the prayers, the pleas, the questions, the praises, the thanksgivings and the joys that have arisen to these beams! The walls that hold my sacred space open are the same rough hewn barn boards I recall, with tiny shafts of light streaming in through the many cracks and crevices. These old grey boards have been weathered by many a storm both inside and out. And then there is that stunning beam of sunlight passing through a knot hole high up, near the top left corner of the chapel – always a marvellous sight. Even more incredible than the beam with its sparkling scatter of dust particles is the almost perfect metre-wide circle it makes on the floor, an open invitation to come and sit.
There is no hesitation in my step as I return to my familiar place in the circle of light. I sit comfortably, just enjoying each breath I take. I have no burning question to ask of Godde right now, no issue crying out for resolution, no fear that needs quieting. This day, this time I have the luxury of just sitting without expectation...
In the deep serenity of silence I hear The Divine sigh, “Welcome Home.”
|Rainbow Arch, Lindesfarne, Northumberland|