In still places

Church of the Gesu

Excuse the crappy composition for now. This is my favorite spot at the Church of the Gesu, my favorite place on campus besides the Library.

I don’t remember the last time I came here, but it must have been a while. When I sat here in the warm quietness I felt a detached familiarity: my mind and my everything remembered having been here enough times to consider it a favorite, and yet I could feel how much of a “change” it was to be here now.

I love Gesu because it’s the only Church I have a genuine relationship with. Even the Churches and chapels I grew up visiting felt alien and, to a certain extent, cold. But the Gesu is airy and light, and it’s built right next to the dorm I lived in for two years. I had spent many nights outside it, leaning against those slanting walls to look up at the sky in search of stars, attempting to remind myself that there was light somewhere in the night.

These were nights that I felt stuffed into contexts I had no power over, and powerlessness is a despicable feeling to me. Except, for some reason, when it came to higher powers or beings, and unreachable objects like stars and galaxies. When it came to those, suddenly it was beautiful to be subsequent to something more powerful than me.

Yesterday, before a midterm exam, I felt a calling to visit the small campus chapel. I went there thinking I would pray for encouragement for my exam, but I ended up spurting bigger things, like how much I missed the time when believing was simple, and how weak and lost I’ve become.

It helps that I’m studying the Proslogion for Philosophy class, and it is equally the most confusing and  the most beautiful text I have ever read. It restored my belief in a higher power, one that was Supreme good and beyond human comprehension, but it also took my youth’s blind beliefs and rearranged them in rational fashion. This was the mindset I was walking around with yesterday. I was reacquainted with my childhood sentiments and I was seeing faith in a very new light.

Less than an hour after that mysterious enlightening at the chapel, I thought of the Gesu and how I hadn’t been there in a while. And that’s how I found myself going back to my old spot. I immediately remembered one day two years ago at the peak of my depression and heartbreak when I went there with the very purpose of crying my eyes out. I remembered sitting at the steps just to feel the wind. I remembered something someone said to me at this place (and I remembered that I knew he was lying).

This was the relationship I had with this place. It had my stories, my sobs etched onto its tiles, and my feelings lingering in the air from years before.

It was warm. The kind of warmth that didn’t prick your skin, but made it feel thinner, lighter. There was a soft wind blowing against me, which was rare this season. I hugged myself lightly and made believe there was something watching over me with care, compassion.

I missed surrendering to a higher power. I missed the empowering feeling of putting yourself trustfully into the hands of something greater. I missed believing in Something so infinitely and unfailingly good that it could overtake me and overcome all the bad that I was used to seeing. I missed having a faith that comforted me.

And somehow, at that place, all alone, I felt comforted again.

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