Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Seems like it always happens in church

(This post was published on September 27, 2013).

I want to finally write about the beautiful encounter I had during our trip to Cologne.

Sunny just simply loved Cologne cathedral. I guess he would have spent hours in there if I had let him. But I was always afraid that we would disturb others so we went outside from time to time and then went in again.

What he loved the most were the beautiful, coloured windows. Accidentally, he carried a travel guide with him of a city that also has a big cathedral (it is an old book from the 70's that he found at his grandma and he LOVES it!). So he kept comparing the windows in the book and the windows in the cathedral and was over the moon about it.

After some time he was drawn to the pew where you light candles in order to pray. He got so excited when he saw how many candles there were. He tried to blow them out (which I did not allow, of course). I lit a candle and wanted to sit down and take a few moments to pray for our loved ones. He stayed with me most of the time, but there were moments when he jumped up again and ran to the candles or when he showed me the windows in his book and then again the windows in the church, accompanied by sounds that showed his excitement. I told him he needed to be quiet but given how excited he was that was not easy for him.

After a bit people started to look at us, feeling disturbed. There were one or two who "shhh"ed at us. I apologised, was embarrassed and thought about leaving the church. But I also needed to be there for a few more minutes in order to pray and just take some time to pause and reflect. But I was already tensed and felt uncomfortable because of all those who would have preferred us to leave.

Then this elderly couple turned up and sat down next to me. The man looked at us and smiled. He watched how I tried to calm Sunny down and told me that it was okay. I apologised for Sunny being rather loud (he did not scream or anything, but everything that is more than just whispering is loud in church) and he told me not to worry. I told him that this obviously was not the opinion of everyone here because we had already gotten some rather annoyed looks and "shhh"s and he told me that I had every right to be here, too. We started to talk and he asked me a few things about Sunny: his name, his age, stuff like that. Not in an uncomfortable way, but with genuine interest. He was really, really kind, and kindness of strangers always gets to me and so I started crying at some point. Again. When will I ever learn to control this? It is just embarrassing but I could not help it.

Before they left he told me that he knew what kind of hard work my life was (I am paraphrasing) and that he wished us all the best. There was no pity in what he said; it was just kindness and understanding. And his last words before they got up and left were that "Sunny is a child of god".

I loved that he said that. I loved that he understood so well although we never met. His words were so consoling and just when I felt weak and rejected because Sunny did not behave how others expected him to behave and I felt sad and planned to leave this place we both enjoyed at that moment for the sake of others he told me that it was okay for us to be here. That we deserved the tranquillity of the church and the candles, too. And that it was okay for us to be anywhere we wanted to be and not to be excluded from anything.

It was such a sweet and beautiful moment that I will cherish and treasure. Somehow it seems I always have beautiful moments when I am at church. Maybe I should start to be there more often.


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