By: Margaret Brown
WHOEVER COINED the phrase “stop the world I want to get off” tapped in to a sentiment felt increasingly by those caught up in the 21st century rat race.
When daily life crowds in and all becomes a little too much, time is in short supply and patience at a premium, it may help to take a long hard look at what really matters. Some people find refuge in music, others seek somewhere away from the constant noise of everyday life – perhaps in a park or in the peace of the countryside, where age old rhythms still hold fast even in the presence of global change.
Many years ago, when work and the excitement of daily living left no room for God, my one link with Christianity was C of E given as my religion on joining the W.A.A.F. No doubt to facilitate the proper disposal of my remains should I get in the way of a stray doodle-bug or other enemy hardware: or those of some unfortunate aircrew member, who ‘bought it’ in the line of duty and a burial party of the correct faith was needed to slow-march the coffin to its resting place.
Nevertheless, on many occasions, when on a day pass, I was drawn to some cathedral or church in whatever town or city I happened to be in: stepping from this life into the accumulated centuries of worship absorbed by the ancient stones, softly lit through coloured windows that diffused the sunbeams or brightened a rainy day. A blessed place to sit without thinking, breathe in the silence and exhale all that was alien and discordant.
Perhaps God was there amid the odour of sanctity, quietly working with what was at his disposal in my uncommitted soul: because always, when I left through the door by which I had entered, I felt changed for the better.