When I was little, back in the olden days before the internet, I remember sitting on the rough commercial-grade carpet of the library floor. I was alone in a big aisle of books as my mother looked for something to read in another section.
I loved to sit there flipping through the pages of pictures. Of great art. Far away places. Unusual people.
It was on that floor that I discovered a love of many great artists, cultivated admiration for strong leaders with courage and conviction, found awe in architecture built with not only function but artistic reverence, and began a longing to see worlds beyond my own.
I was young at the time. So young that my realities were a bit confused. And while my conscience and convictions were building and solidifying, I hadn’t yet settled on my beliefs. It was at a time when I pretty much had the same faith in Santa, God, and the US President. I believed they were real and I never expected or needed to meet them. But I felt like it was important possess a way to communicate with them. You know, just in case. Santa and the President were simple. I could write them letters. North Pole. White House. Done.
But God. I’d never been sure how to get a message up to him until that day on the library floor when I opened up a book on Barcelona and saw a picture of Gaudi’s Cathedral.
I saw the flowing spires reaching up to heaven. The surreal structure. And in this particular image the impossible blue sky. It was like a dream.
And I knew.
I just knew that if I needed God to hear me that is where I needed to go. To lie on the floor of the great Sagrada Familia and look into the arches. I knew that whispers that passed from my lips would go right to God’s ear.
Years have passed and my understanding of the world has formed, changed, flowed, and been made strong. It’s also been battered, bruised and made unclear. What I know to be true continues to feed my convictions. What I know I don’t know continues to fuel my curiosity. And what I can’t conceive of continues to surprise me. And in most ways I am not that little girl on the library floor.
But today while on a work trip to Barcelona I had the opportunity to walk through the doorway of Sargada Familia. To gaze upon its spires. To look lovingly at the organic interior columns and supports. To sate some of the curiosity of my childhood self. That wild white haired blue eyed tiny me that believed in everything.
And I kneeled down on the cool hard floor. I rocked back on the heels of my favorite boots. Well worn boots. Boots that have visited every country I have. I dropped to a seat and began to lean back. To look up. I could feel the cold stone on the small of my back as I lifted my eyes and iPhone toward the heavens and just as my recline was almost complete and I was telling myself that it didn’t matter my beliefs. That right now a whisper from my lips would be worthwhile even though there are no ears to hear it…
But it was still a beautiful ceiling…