Devotion, in my book

Church Bells and laundry

Hanging laundry on the line, the bells extended over the row houses into my square, sunlit yard. Why were they reaching out now, I wondered? To tell me it was noon?
Church has never been a welcome place for me. I equated it with mild punishment. I saw the hippocracy early on – my alcoholic father seeking redemption from something higher up when all he had to do was look down to me. I sat in uncomfortable pews, coloring the full moons of the a’s and o’s of that Sunday’s pamphlet. My job was to sing, which I loved, and put a check into the collection plate when it came around. Everything else passed in and went out. Why did I need an out of touch old man telling me how a girl should see life? Why did I need it filtered through someone else, when I could find a river and feed straight from the source?
But I’ve always wanted that sort of faith. To be called to something in that way. When I went to Rome in college, the churches called in deep metal tones, the monks sang the most beautiful Italian sounds. And I’d enter them willingly, almost in a trance, as if I were reaching for something. The beautiful sculptures, gold filigree, frescos. God, they were magnificent. I wanted to belong, only I knew I didn’t.
But that’s what writing is for me – a religion I’ve carried before I knew how to put it down on paper. In death, life, joy, fear – I come here. It’s the closest I will ever be to that kind of calling. Faith doesn’t come without insecurity, anger, distrust – it means that despite the days I hate every word out of my mouth, some part of me still believes it’s worth my devotion.
I may not house it around a golden alter of any kind, but my ribs are pretty damn strong. I’m a little left heavy on the heart side, some days grotesque, some days mousey. But writing isn’t pretty in the making. Just like this damn house – I have to toss it around, turn it over, mess the entire thing up before I can organize it in something I can carry with me.

p.s. don’t look at my undies.

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