A Chapel and A Church
In Arizona, my two places to relax were Sedona and Prescott. On a Sunday, Anne, a co-worker, and I traveled to Sedona. The red rock formations of Sedona are a magnet for tourists. I love mountains, and the red rock mountains just drew me into them. The strip mall shopping center had a bookstore that became a favorite of mine. Behind the mall was a parking lot that looked out on the red rock mountains and I spent a lot of time there looking at the mountains.
Also in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The Chapel is built into the side of a mountain. One Sunday, when I was alone, I visited the Chapel. I went inside and prayed to replenish my soul on this long and difficult test project. Many tourists were coming and going. All were reverent upon entering the sanctuary. I was able to meditate and sooth my soul. I would return to this chapel.
Easter in Wickenburg, AZ
In early 2001 I was again working in Arizona. I was still grieving the death of my daughter Kim. In June of 2000 she was killed by a drunk driver. One Sunday I journeyed to Sedona for the express purpose of visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross. I entered the sanctuary and prayed for Kim. I lit a candle in her memory. I meditated and soothed my soul.
That same year I was in Wickenburg, AZ during Easter. It was the first Easter after Kim’s death. I wanted to attend church. Once I had attended the LCMS Lutheran Church and they made it plain that ELCA Lutheran’s weren’t welcome there. A friend recommended the Presbyterian Church so I attended Easter services there.
I took a seat in the back row. As the church filled, I migrated to the center of the pew. The church was filled with fresh flowers. I worked to keep my emotions under control. The weight of Kim’s death was still heavy on my shoulders. The choir entered the sanctuary shouting “He is risen, He is risen.” I couldn’t hold back the tears. That statement had a new meaning on this Easter morning. People next to me politely smiled at this stranger in their midst. They were supportive and didn’t make a big deal of it. I would drop a few more tears during that service. I left refreshed with another affirmation of the life to come and that Kim was cradled in God’s arms.
Wherever you travel or wander, you can find a chapel or church that will welcome you to pray, meditate, and have a brief respite from the busy noisy world. The Holy Spirit and fellow Christians will guide you to them. It’s a blessing; pause, accept it, and appreciate it.