I looked down to see my bare feet
climbing the stone stairs.
In the dark, in the deepest part
of a deadly quiet night.
The steps hurt, the surface cold
and hard beneath my tender skin.
I walked through the unlocked door
into the warmth of the vestibule.
There were statues of angels
and windows made of colored glass.
The light from the street lamps
filling the room with a soft blue glow.
Before me stood a large heavy antique wooden door
leading into the sanctuary, the safe haven.
I pushed on the door with all of my weight
and slowly it moved on its hinge.
The room was lit by only one candle
and someone knelt before it, head bowed.
Quietly, I entered so as not to disturb him
and made my way to the alter at the front of the room.
I took a wooden match in one hand
and struck it short and quick against a stone.
The flames hissed as it sent a glow across my face
the scent of sulfur filling up the air.
I laid the match against the wick of a candle
and the two quickly became one single flame.
I blew out the match and laid it back on the alter
and knelt before that flame and clasped my hands.
I let the words begin to fall from my lips
and fall they did until they turned into tears.
Like rivers run and torrential rains fall
they poured from me and filled the space of that room.
My body shook at the force of my pain
strange sounds came up from the depths of my soul.
I let them come, and I let them go
until slowly my breathing resumed its even pace.
I rose slowly, shaken and on unsteady knees
and walked back out of the room.
My prayers left lingering in the silence
as I put my hand on the door.
On the steps outside, I sat down
to listen to the quiet of the night.
He sat down beside me
as I heard the door softly close again.
“I’ve come here to pray,’ I said to him,
“to find the answers I just can’t understand.”
He said, “I heard you, Andrea”
and then I was sitting alone again.