I’m not a very religious person in many ways. Sundays are not reserved for weekly church attendance. Yet I do believe in a higher being, and I find that I can truly connect with that being in old churches.
Organized religion usually upsets me. Despite my spending my childhood attending a Baptist church, I do not find more peace with most of the people that I encounter who are part of any organized religion. That’s not to say that people who go to church are bad/wrong/mean/or any other negative stereotype. My experiences have yet to show me that any of them are more helpful, supportive, loving, etc than the people who don’t go to church. Actually some of my most disappointing interactions with people have been with “church people.”
I share all of this because I want to try to explain the contrast of just being in a beautiful church without believing in the principles of the faith for me. A man-made building, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, can have a deeper spiritual effect on me. Just crossing the threshold, I can feel my blood pressure go down and my soul opens up. Walking around I observe the various ways people interact with the building. Some see places like St. Patrick’s as a mere tourist attraction, while others take a moment to pray or mediate. I find that I usually want to strange those who see the building as a quiet place to make a phone call. Anyway, I love being in churches.
On Friday I was in New York when a shooting happened at the Empire State Building. The immediate reports told of a senseless act why would change the lives of not only the 11 people killed or injured, but also their family and friends. The event was heartbreaking to me. My life was forever changed in an instance, so I could imagine some of the the feelings of those involved. My heart went out to them.
So as I found myself walking pass St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I decided to go in and light a candle. Now I have a tradition of lighting a candle in honor of my mom every time I visit a church during my travels. She was a devout Christian in the best sense of the word, and I like to honor her in this small way. On Friday, I lit two candles — one for my mom and another one for those impacted by the shooting. May my small gesture aid in bringing peace to all…