Lighthouses for the soul
Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30
People who know me well know that I am not a regular church-goer. But I have a confession to make. While I don't go to church services regularly, I do often go into churches.
This wasn't always the case.
I can remember as a teenager in boarding school the Mercy nuns extolling us to "drop in" to the onsite chapel to say a prayer when we were passing. I never did.
It was many years later that my interest stirred. I was an agricultural reporter covering meetings up and down the country and would sometimes stay over locally. Waking up early and alone in a strange town I would often go for a breath of fresh air and find an open church.
I might wander around, looking at the artwork, glance over the parish newsletter or other literature but mostly I just sat and let my thoughts go where they would.
I often had the place to myself. If there were other people there, they would probably salute and then go on about their business. Nobody ever looked at me askew.
What I found was a sense of welcome, quietness and strength. Is it the presence of spirit of a Higher being or just the pleasure of some quiet time in a well-kept sturdy, often beautiful, building? Or is there also something else?
I remember once reading about how it seemed to become easier to get the New York Times crossword "out" as the day goes on and the suggestion that this may be due to some sense of collective knowledge.