Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canterbury

Chaucer had prepared me for the streets crowded with modern pilgrims, for the stench of unwashed tourists, for the Starbuck's adjoining the cathedral gate. After all, his tales are known for their mingling of the bawdy and the sacred. I was expecting no better.

I did not know that I would gasp upon my first view of the Nave, awed by the narrow rows of columns stretching hundreds of feet up to the peaked arches, majestic tendons of white stone. I did not know that I would find tears here, that I would be silenced for a full two hours, that I would long to raise my hands and sing.

I did not know that I would kneel at the Chapel of the Saints and Martyrs, knees on the hard wooden bench, eyes transfixed by fragile patterns of colored glass, and find my heart swept upward in prayer for the persecuted church.

Had I known, I would've come as a pilgrim, weary with the journey, rich with expectation of the glory awaiting me. Instead, I leave a pilgrim, aware of how far I still am from home, full of fresh hope for the day my voice will join with those of Augustine and Beckett and thousands more in a song of worship that will fill even these grand spaces, resonating from the depths of the crypt to the distant peak of the bell tower, spilling outward and upward in never-ending praise.

6 comments:

cortney said...

Abby, you are such a writer...

Thanks for the photos and thorough descriptions! What a beautiful place. What an odd blend of the familiar and completely foreign (Starbucks in London - thank God for small reminders of home!).

Have fun with the girls tomorrow...
-Cortney :o)

Jess said...

Abby,
I know exactly what you mean. When I visited Bath Abbey, I literally had to sit down and remain silent. I was in awe, not only of the Abbey's magnificent architecture and history, but of God. Something about that place made me feel overwhelmed with joy and faith and love and a feeling of smallness. It was a very intense mixture.

I can't wait to speak to you in person about all of your experiences. Your writing is beautiful, but hearing you talk about all that you've been through will no doubt be even more moving. See you soon! ~Jess

steph-a-ninnie said...

Abby, what a beautifully lyrical posting! I felt like I was there with you.

~Steph

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.