I walked into Trinity Church in NYC, not planning to spend much time, fully intending to spend only a few minutes then find a way into the graveyard to say hello to the Hamilton’s and leave. That didn’t happen. Cathedrals are fascinating. Maybe because I grew up in a church group that didn’t have cathedrals. Sure, there are large Seventh-Day Adventist churches and I’ve been in some but nothing that compares. And although I wasn’t raised in cathedrals, there’s always been a highly spiritual aspect to them that I’ve never quite found in my denominational church. You could argue that the church I spent the most time in also doubled as my school where, during the week, the sanctuary turned into the gym and we drew chalk circles in the carpet. It takes away an aspect of reverence that doesn’t seem to be broken in a cathedral. Cathedrals are magnificent and fascinating. I recently read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and while it is a work of fiction, it brought to mind much of the struggle that goes into the building. I don’t know the history behind every cathedral. Growing up, we were taught that the buildings were primarily paid for by the congregation buying indulgences or ways into heaven, a fact I later found to be untrue. That cathedrals were built to glorify God but also the people who built them. I can’t help but think, both then and now, that we don’t actually focus on the person who designed and built the church. The primary point of a church, of cathedrals, is to uplift, to point the person to a higher mindset, a higher Person. As I wandered into Trinity and sat down in a pew, I realized that this place had so much to teach me. I found a side chapel, sat down in the front row and in silence allowed myself to listen.
Sitting in a side chapel, where the only sounds are an occasional footstep, it’s so hard to just be quiet. So many of us are so terrified of not having some sort of noise. Of having to be alone with ourselves. We go places, like café’s, with the intention of being silent and alone. But it’s not really silent. The music. The dishes. The people. The espresso machines. It’s not really quiet and we’re not really alone.
I think I’m boring. I can’t comprehend why anyone would find me interesting. I don’t know how I fit into the world and maybe, just maybe, if I go and see enough of it, I’ll figure it out. And even if I am never quite sure, I’ll be able to say that I tried. That I went out and did and encouraged others along the way to do and be. We fear death so much that we don’t live. Then we glorify the dead for what they did. Why? Because their terror of death caused them to move, to think, to do. Or they didn’t have enough time to do those things and we’re sorry for them. Then we talk about how we’re going to let their death inspire us. To do hard things. Morning comes around and the terror sets in again, asking us what we were thinking and reminding that we’re not as great as we thought. I keep saying I’m going to do things, that I’m going to travel. And while I may be doing things to get there, how can I actually do it when I’m holding myself back, mentally, emotionally. This journey is meant to help me not hinder me and I must have the courage to do it, not just with my resources but with my mind and soul
This is one of driving forces behind why I want to travel. Because I’m not comfortable with myself. Being alone with myself. And I know it. To go to places where the only person I can rely on is myself, where the only person who can pull me out of the hole I’m in is me. And I believe this is true for all of us. That the primary way we can be self-confident is by being able to be comfortable with ourselves when we are alone. And I think we are there when we can say “I have gone the distance. I have proven myself worthy and enough.” We all go through this differently. This journey, not one looks similar. We get hung up so much on how someone else is walking that we doubt our own progress and take a step backwards instead of forwards. And while looking at how others has it’s benefits with certain similar mountains, we must adapt the methodology to ourselves instead of taking the mirror and reflecting exactly how they did it. While we must survive, we’ve been given a gift and that is the ability to thrive in such a unique way. And how can I be happy when I am merely surviving by the skin of my teeth. As Anaïs Nin says in Fire: From a Journal of Love-The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, “I have to be rent and pulled apart and live according to the demons and the imagination in me. I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” To the stars I must go.