I went to church. I feel like it deserves an article to itself, as I am not a regular churchgoer nor do I hold many religious beliefs. The point in this is not to enter in a religious debate. I am all for freedom of thought and faith. I personally do not have any inclination towards religion per say. I think I could say I believe in karma. Whatever goes around comes around. That seems fair to me.

At the time, I was visiting a friend in a small village in Southeast Poland. Her family is Catholic. She is catholic. It seemed respectful that, in return for being welcomed, fed, housed, I would follow their Sunday mass tradition.

If divine intervention is so luminous, then surely seeing it in a gloomy church would scare the people half to death.

We sat upstairs and overlooked the assembly. The church was cool, as most churches seem to be. I always thought that sunrays would hit places of worship. In my childhood, the teachings of religion described faith as enlightenment and religious figures with auras of light and purity. If divine intervention is so luminous, then surely seeing it in a gloomy church would scare the people half to death. But enough of that. The point is we were here on a sunny Sunday morning with our jackets on, huddling close to fight off the chill.

Mass started. Around me, people were repeating a prayer over and over again, like a monotone song. I couldn’t understand a word. Those incessant prayers became fascinating. As the words escaped me, I concentrated on the tone of the voices and the music of the speech. Everything seemed to be rehearsed, choreographed, like a theater premiere. Everyone knew what to say and when to say it. Downstairs, young men in white robes streamed passed continuously. People were chanting in a foreign tongue. It was appeasing and slightly magical.

I have no idea what was said. Was it inspirational or tedious? What feelings were being passed around the assembly?

The church was brimming with people. Pews were holding a few people too many each. The sermon started. I have no idea what was said. Was it inspirational or tedious? What feelings were being passed around the assembly? I watched. Beside me, a little boy was playing happily with a red car underneath a pew. An old woman stayed seated when we had to stand due to old age. A young girl with a bright pink shirt knelt to light a candle. A man arrived late and shuffled hurriedly to a free seat. The chandeliers held electric candles. Someone behind me sneezed. We stood up to sing.

Everything seemed to be rehearsed, choreographed, like a theater premiere.

I lost track of time. Then came the moment of communion. I stayed seated. My friend stayed seated next to me. I looked at her with a puzzled expression.

“You need to confess to be allowed it,” she explained.

“But children are eating it.”

“We think children are too small to have committed bigger sins.”

“You didn’t confess?”

“No. And I have committed too many sins.”

I looked across at her brother. She noticed and leaned over.

“Him too.”

We giggled. Her imperturbable brother smiled lightly. I was relieved it wasn’t all so serious.

We walked out of the Church in sunlight. I still do not have the Faith but I can understand the calmness in it. We drove home to homemade barszcz.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God. Kurt Vonnegut