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I closed my eyes for a moment…

I closed my eyes for a moment in Notre Dame

I’ve always enjoyed Notre Dame Cathedral from all it’s glorious angles, inside and out.  I’ve spent countless hours over the years walking around it, looking up in awe.  I’ve even climbed all the way to the top a few times, despite my fear of heights.  The views, dizzying as they are, are worth it, even on overcast dreary days.  I am just thankful for the protective fencing.

One chilly, bright morning, I attended a Gregorian Chant mass.  From the usher, I took the leaflet printed in French that I couldn’t read and found a seat among the regular worshipers and tourists alike.  Instead of fidgeting like I did through mass as a child, I loosened my scarf, closed my eyes for a moment, centered myself and reached out, one by one, to each of my senses…

I listened to the melodic, calming chanting reverberate throughout the cathedral…my gaze wandered from the soaring arches to the dim chandeliers to the magnificent stained glass windows that were lit by the sunny morning outside…the heavy scent of incense hung in the air, making my nose itch for release…I felt the cold emanating from the stone floor and wondered what parishioners sat on during services hundreds of years ago.  I did not taste the communion as I felt that it was inappropriate for me to partake, being the seriously lapsed Catholic I am.  Flashes of recent memories of fancy hotel sheets keeping me in my seat while warming my cheeks, and other places best not mentioned in church.

When it was over, I emerged, blinking into the blue-skied sunlight feeling both energized and peaceful.  I carried the experience with me throughout that relaxed, quite Sunday in Paris.

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