The Sanctuary Dream

9/24/21 (this is a recurring dream space. Do you recognize it?)

The first thing you notice is that the carpet is red. 

The sanctuary is carpeted in the color of red that is a rich, deep, red, full of hints of russet, ruby, and roses. The crowning on the ceiling is golden, and you notice the balcony is low overhead, not quite close enough to be claustrophobic, but still, close. The supports are gilt carved ornate pieces, that glimmer as you walk past. The pews are wooden, with cushions in red to match the floor. 

Your steps are dampened by the plush of the carpet.

You enter from the back, a gallery that opens down into the space, where the chancel is sunken, so that even the back seats from the floor can see clearly down to the center. Looking up, the chancel is warmly stained wood, setting the entire space in a warm glow reflecting from the light flooding the space where you are going to speak.

But that is not what you are doing right now. Right now you have to get your kid squared away, and that is up a flight and a half to the children’s wing above the back of the balcony. The staircase at the top of the balcony is wide, in mirror image to the stair up tp the back of the bottom floor of the sanctuary, where the gleaming lights catch your eye every time you pass by.

Sometimes there are people walking up the stairs, sometimes the space is empty and quiet as a tomb.

Behind the balcony is a narrow stairwell, the walls whitewashed and the railing a black wrought iron. The colors are jarring each time you transition, because it seems an after thought, an extra, a bit that doesn’t receive the same honor as the sanctuary. 

And the children’s hall feels… like a hospital, a bit. The light, especially in contrast to the sanctuary is cold, barren, bright—blue, almost. Glass doors are spaced evenly down the hall, and as you pass by, you see the children playing behind them on primary colored block foam flooring. You can’t hear them, the spaces are soundproofed. 

The door for your child is next, and you can’t tell if the careworkers are there yet, you look in, and check your watch at the same time.

You’re late. 

You’ve got to go. 

You start to move, and decide to … well…

The dream splits. Sometimes you have left your child to play. She is happy, you are fine, mostly. 

Sometimes you have to keep walking with them back down the cold white steps and into the back of the sanctuary. The sacristy perhaps. 

And the jitters of performance start in. There is no calming it, only going through it. 

The first words are a push. 

The space is full.

You weren’t ready. Not really.

But you’re here. 

And it is time.

You begin. 

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