Fri Dec 30 2011
St. Louis Cathedral.
Hope is alive.
I dig into my messy purse. I know I have change...I always have change.
I pull out two quarters. One with a penny stuck to it from some remnant of blue gum never chewed... but obviously let loose in the sea of “things”.
I loosen the penny from the gums grip...clean off the quarter...
Hope costs 50 cents.
I take my votive candle over to the monument before me. Others have come before...others are waiting behind me. I am aware of their presence...but don’t feel rushed. My 50 cents buys me this.
I intuitively scan the rows of votives...looking for that perfect spot for my hope to rest.
I find it and drop my candle in.
Long, thin wooden sticks laying everywhere. I pick one up, its end already charred.
And I hesitate.
Which candle do I borrow a flame from? And it is then that it hits me...
I was not born Catholic. Yet... I have, since I was a child, been drawn to it. I sometimes pray to Mother Mary. I wear a rosary.
I do not find myself wrapped up in its rituals like most who choose the religion. I find myself enveloped by them. And there is a big difference.
This ritual, in particular, touches me the most.
The lighting of the candle. For a prayer offered up in surrender. It is living proof that hope has not died. It takes hope to light one. It takes hope to pray.
The most beautiful of all of these though being: you have to borrow the flame from another’s offering of hope to light your own.
I chose my candle to borrow from...lit my candle. As I blew out the flame at the end of the wooden stick...I let go.
Walking out of the cathedral I wondered who the person was that had lit the candle...that I lit my wooden stick from. Was it a man or a woman? Had they suffered great loss...were they about to? What had brought them to exchange 50 cents for a flame of hope?
We are all one.