Friday, July 2, 2010

Final Parisian Events Part Deux: Church

So I wake up one morning and decide it's about time for me to find Jesus.


Actually, I did wake up one Sunday morning and berate myself for waiting so friggin long to honor my grandmother's request get over to Saint Sulpice for the organ music.

It was a gray, rainy morning, and the bus chugged swiftly through the nearly-empty streets to drop me directly at a huge construction site that I finally realized was the sainted sulpice herself. The French equivalent of Girl Scouts, or whatever, was under a little tent selling cookies, and NOT the kind that come out of a package! They looked as if they had just come out of the oven point-two earlier. Sheesh.

Anyway, I went inside and took my seat in the peanut gallery, the roped off section in the back that is sequestered from the real congregation taking communion and all that other mass-y stuff.

I did not want to partake in the incredibly annoying stand-up-sit-down routines, hence my choice in seating. Some might argue that that's no way to respect the church, or the culture, but without getting into a heated philosophical/religious debate, I justified my decision by relegating myself to said Observation Deck to remove myself from the serious churchies. This seemed to be the purpose of this section as understood by design, and I will say that while the golden tablet (or cross or whatever it is they carry down the isles to signal the commencement of the mass) was not paraded past my little peanut gallery, the collection baskets most generously were.

I came for the music and to revel in the haunting beauty of the church. Churches supposedly pride themselves on welcoming everyone; even if you're not allowed to take communion, you come as you are. 

Well, here I am.

I wanted to enjoy the service Quaker style, sitting in quiet contemplation and listening to the music of the French words and the ginormous organ looming behind me.

Haaaaalelluja (Do you see The Light! I said, DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT!)

The music went directly to my head, directly into my very bloodstream--even now I can feel the tingly vibrations that sent waves of little cold thrills down to my fingertips and toes. The words and chants of the mass echoed and surrounded my like a little warm bubble and I sat pinned to my chair, head bowed and eyes closed, feeling heavy and light at the same time, like I was in my own universe. My breath and heartbeat slowed like I was asleep, but I felt so alive and awake...

As I sat in the chill of the stone cathedral protected by my bubble of musical warmth, I was visited by a childhood memory: My little self, trying very hard to be still and mature, ready to turn the sheet of music to the next page as my grandmother magic-fingered her way through another psalm as we sat together at the organ of our plain wooden meetinghouse. The grandeur of Saint Sulpice was worlds away from a tiny Midwest house of worship, but the music was the beautiful thread tying me to every memorable moment in my life. 

It still is.


Benjamin Bush said...

Holy Hell, that's a beautiful muh****in church!!

kK said...

Haha I know, right! Good times in gai should take the little tot soon, maybe he'll pick up one of those girl scouts lol!