When I think of going to church, it isn't immediately flashes of gold off of alters or crosses that appear in my mind. Not Jesus, with his sad, searching eyes or Mary who always prefers to look down, usually from someplace Spanish with roses. Who can blame her, hell sometimes I can't bear to watch us either. If I let my mind revolve through the delicate patchwork of beauty, pain, and confusion I associate with the place it will sometimes come around to beautiful angels or banners elaborate enough for the thrown room of a king...or a King.
But what I generally very first think of when someone mentions church, is the sky. For whatever reason it always seems that when you go into or out of a church, the sky seems so blue. Even the clouds seem to stream with a little more light and for the moment the world seems a little more manageable. When you get lost in that sky it seems that somehow, for a moment, in a horribly frial sort of way, everything might be okay.
After the sort of crisis of faith I mentioned on the opening page, I had slowly spiraled into a sort of confusion that led me out of the church and into a world that I had grown the be so afraid of because it didn't follow the commands of the book I had grown up with. I ventured into it because I didn't want to be afraid of it anymore. I didn't want to hate it or think everyone in it was going to hell. And what I had found was quite beautiful in its own way. People of all different cultures and different beliefs.
This particular day it was a hot but dry Sunday in October in the Valley of Los Angeles when I walked into a little church in Burbank. It sit in the back genrally when I go to churches, with the potted plants and church announcements and ushers who are sure enough about what goes on behind the doors to direct people inside. Maybe it's so I can feel a little more on the outside, looking in at something I'm so desperate to understand, or because I'm so afraid that the pain will at any minute come draining down my eyes because I was once so sure I did.
I'm never of course beyond a polite hello or a good morning and though I don't generally delve much further than that, I always enjoy the safety that seems to descend amongst everyone as they enter. The knowledge that, at least for awhile, everyone here is going to do the best they can not to hurt you.
This particular morning there was a guy strumming a guitar, along with a piano as the people sang along with the words that flashed across the screen that hung behind them. And I was floating there, semi-happy when suddenly the words on the screen changed.
"Are you really here?" They asked. I glanced at them apathetically. "Or are you watching, waiting, hoping?" The last one mostly, I answered to myself. It asked me what kept me up at night and what was really bothering me.
I felt an uncertainty start deep within my chest and climb slowly to my eyes. "Take it to the thrown." The message told me, "to the only one who can really fix it."