CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL. DUBLIN IRELAND. OCTOBER 2013.
I can’t help but wonder how they could ever worship here without being distracted by the elaborate architecture and stonework. I guess it can only take time to really comprehend the deeper meaning of this place. To me, it feels like a secret that only those truly in touch with their past understand. The doors are inviting; the archways are beautiful, but the metal bars, stain glass windows, and patterned tiles are all whispering, “Do you get it?” I don’t really, but I am trying. It’s secrets ages old that are trapped in these walls. All the people in the glass—what have they seen and heard?—surely some of the most vibrant music and surely some of the most ungodly atrocities! The tiles peer up as if disappointed by my common boot so dedicated to style and little else. They ask, “do you even know who has walked upon us? Do you know what great persons have tread our decorated faces?” I don’t know. I only know the names on the plaques.
Now, the metalwork mocks my ignorance. “Where were you when this place was filled and my ligaments swelled from the heat of human presence?” I know the answer this time, but it does little save prove his point. I was nowhere. I was yet to be a speck on the globe in the abyss of time. Every detail, every little piece of art calls out in a different way, for they have all seen different parts of the same past. I can’t help but think back before their time. Where did they come from? What blistered, calloused hands heated and turned and hammered the metal gates to create extravagant art? Who lay the tiles in place one by one until every square foot of the cathedral was covered? Who chiseled the stone above to perfection creating flowers and vines that would last long after the artisan’s name could even be recalled? I don’t know! It’s not the sort of thing that can be looked up in an encyclopedia or on the internet because no one really gives a care who made the building as long as it’s there when needed, as long as it was there during national trials, and as long as it’s here for tourists to gaze upon today.
Now the holy men speak. They read familiar passages from Psalms. God is not dead in this place, though He is watered down by the tourist industry. Still, I hear the great pillars, “We may never give voice like the holy men, but we have seen more human glory and fault, life and death than the most revered priest could possibly see in one feeble lifetime.” My eyes are closed. The men’s voices are fading to the background. The immense silence becomes the most prominent voice in this cathedral. There it is again. The whispers. “Do you get it?” I don’t get it, but I am trying. I will be forever trying.