Journal #17 The Cathedral and its wonders

I love my job.

I work in a cathedral; I translate and interpret, and function as a guide during the tourist season.

I am not a Christian, but no doubt do I work in someone’s place of worship, and there is something quietly comforting about that.
As I wash the pews – soap, water, tools to remove old chewed up gum – maybe left there by bored kids on a Sunday that dragged on – from even older wood, someone is lighting candles for a family they hope to see again soon. While I’m relaying interesting facts to tourists, about the spire that went missing in ’45 and how all Norwegian churches don models of ships, someone is sat quietly in mourning. As I refill the oil lamps in the candles on the altar, I think about how I’m lighting the fire that someone may find their God in today. It is a privilege to work in a place that can bring people peace.

As I find myself in this church for eight hours a day, it is easy to forget the holiness the people that visit will bring to these walls, the wooden domed ceiling, the stained glass windows of old. But for eight hours every day, I get to be a part of people’s journeys. I see them enter through the oak doors, and as the church room reveals itself, I see their reactions; as varied as the people.

Some cross themselves, some take pictures for the annual family holiday album, some just stand. Quietly. Some people enter this room that I put on my uniform and go to work in everyday, and they have to take a second to breathe before they enter.

I’m grateful to be working in this building, with its doors wide open to a bustling city, and centuries of life lived and years passed visible in the wear on the rugged stone steps.Church bells tell me when another day has passed, and on the daily I handle artefacts that have existed more than 200 years longer than I have. Everyday, I work accompanied by organ music, from more than 4000 pipes.
This building isn’t just holy because a religion says it is, its holiness lies in its history, in the people who sought refuge in its halls, in the music and the songs that have seeped through the doors and out into the city for generations. It is holy for the children who sees the aisle as too long a straight stretch not to race down, and for the older generations who made these pews their home when they were still so young that their parents braided their hair at night.

This place is holy because of the woman that comes in everyday. The woman who walks quietly in and lights four candles in a little cluster, where others normally just light one. She lights them like a family holding around each other, flickering together.

I’m not a Christian, but no doubt I’m working in a holy place.

-Andrea

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Journal #12

Lazy Sunday mornings are for warm beds and woolen socks, for stretching and for relaxing. They are for opening the curtains and letting the sun in, for cracking open the window, just a little bit, to feel one of those fresh October breezes go past. They’ve got time for long breakfasts and jazz on the radio, for twirling around the kitchen while your toast is getting ready.

Sundays are for soft shirts and your hair in a bun. They are for no makeup, for being cosy in the corner of the sofa, for blankets and cushions and for scented candles. Sundays are for cups of tea. Steaming, fresh, Indian chai, blueberry muffin, cinnamon and apple, all those flavours you need to sit down and savour, that you can’t just rush in a travel mug on the way to uni. Sundays are for writing lists and plans and notes in multicolored pen, and hanging them all around your flat for yourself to find later on in the week. To do lists are always kinder when written on a Sunday.
They are also for music. For songs that make you feel like home, for songs where the bass hits your spine and makes you jump on the sofa, for songs that make you sing so loud the neighbors might come knocking.
Sundays are for catching up. All the things you couldn’t do during the weekend, Sundays are ready to pick up the slack. Sundays see buttons sown back on shirts left waiting, missed reading done and laundry finished, folded and put into neat piles. Sundays see bedsheets changed and floors hoovered and books picked up that have been discarded for too long.
Sundays have got time for walks. For dressing up warm and holding hands, for finding places you’ve never seen and exploring areas you know and love.
They are for rosy cheeks and chilly noses, and blowing on your fingers to keep them warm.

And at the end of warm Sundays you get the lazy Sunday evenings. Sunday evenings are clean sheets and fresh pajamas and curling up in bed with your favourite podcast. They are your bag ready to be packed for uni tomorrow, fairy lights taped to the wall behind your bed and lavender candles lit on the dresser. Lazy Sunday evenings are gratitude for the week that has passed and anticipation for the week to come. They are for that last cup of tea, for face masks and aloe vera moisturizer and skype calls with your sister.

Lazy Sundays evenings are a good night’s sleep, and wishing a new week welcome.

-Andrea