four walls too many.

Churches confound me.

Nowhere does the memory of my deceased father come so close to solidity.  The personal joy that his faith brought him, a Grace Brethren minister come to religion only in adulthood, seems to swirl about the room, threatening to take physical form in the body that I watched in its broken and withered state for the weeks and months before we laid that body to rest.

But it isn't a joy that finds its way into my own body and, otherwise, these rooms, filled with gathered worshippers, are without a warmth that I can discern, despite smiles and verbiage that profess to its existence.

I'm not sure why I question the fervor of strangers (I shouldn't), but I do, especially in an environment that speaks not to me.

If there is a higher power and we believe that that higher power is for some reason reaching out specifically to "us", why do we close ourselves away from the natural world that we espouse as "his" perfect creation?  Why would we construct walls with doors to pass through and close behind us before uttering praise?  It defies all logic and seems to add a "yeah, but" asterisk to those perfection proclamations.

God created the world in all its splendor but, oops, forgot to erect structures within which proper homage could be paid for that most miraculous of miracles?

I too have wanted to raise my arms skyward in exaltation, but not indoors.

Never there.

From the tops of high peaks, under the canopy of solemn trees, while knee deep in the rush of spring runoff, shadowed beneath towering canyon walls, yes, but never indoors.

Walls, with the aid of roofs, protect and shelter, but they also block vision, muffle nature's music and cloak beauty that cannot be improved upon.

Even amidst a civilization endowed with infinite capacity to manufacture fear, I welcome the darkness of night, the punishing glare of sunlight, the whipping of the wind and weather's bombardment over the stale suffocation of enclosure.


  1. Sun streaming through fall leaves and stars twinkling through the calm dark blue. I give my stained glass life and it does the same for me. Kin again.

    1. Love you, Marit. Here's something lovely from one of my favorite writers, Gretel Ehrlich: "To trace the history of a river, or a raindrop, as John Muir would have done, is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both we constantly seek and stumble on divinity, which, like the cornice feeding the lake and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself over and over again."