Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, November 22, 2007

For about 6 hours this afternoon and evening my beloved spouse was taking care of a friend who needed someone to take him to the hospital. He got checked out and is doing OK.

While she was gone the kid and I walked to a playground several blocks away and played hard for about an hour. Then we had hot cocoa at a cafe, and then a stop at the supermarket. On the walk home he started crying because his mom wouldn’t be home when we got back. He sobbed for a block or 2, real tears. I tried to comfort him, tried to distract him, tried to suggest fun things to do once we got home. To no avail.

We walked past a chapel and he asked to go in. It’s a lovely chapel, serene and beautiful. A side room had two chairs, desks, and pads for kneeling. My son asked what those were for. To kneel and pray, I said. He knelt. “How do you pray?”

“You talk to God.”

“What should I say?”

“Saying what you’re thankful for is a good way to pray.”

He prayed for a while silently. Afterwards he told me what he was thankful for. “Dad and Mom and builders and grandpa and grandma and people and friends and polices.” Builders, because without them we wouldn’t have a house. I was surprised -- and touched -- that his late grandpa was on the list.

At the open mic last night the host had asked the performers to tell everybody what they were thankful for. My son had said, “Our house.” I had said I was thankful for the warm and friendly hosting of the open mic, and the sound man, and just thankful to be there.

The chapel invites enchantment -- exactly like a work of art. A place to sit and quiet the mind. We aren’t church-goers; I’m agnostic, and one of my articles of faith is that there’s a lot that lies beyond human understanding. “God” is as good a metaphor for the essential beyond-ness of existence as any I can think of.

When we left the chapel the kid was at peace. It was a religious experience.

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