Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A beautiful day...
Today in the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan, something beautiful happened. It wasn't a large display. Barely anyone even knew it was going to happen.
After a stressful arrival at St. Paul's Chapel (my part of the group was late by at least 25 min) we quietly snuck in to listen to our tour guide Lisa tell us about the building. St Paul's Chapel was build in 1766 and is currently the oldest public building still in continuous use in the city. St. Paul's also sits directly across the street from the former site of the World Trade Center. When the two towers fell on 9/11, the force of the buildings collapsing sent debris flying, moved whole buildings, and blew out windows more than a block away. In all of this, St Paul's was not touched, not even a single window. The sole damage came in the form of an uprooting of a sycamore tree on the front of the property.
During the cleanup after that day, St Paul's served as a place for people to sleep, to pray, to have their feet mended, and as a beacon of hope. It still serves as that today. People all over the world have sent prayers and tokens of their hope to St Paul's and some of those are still on display. Groups come to meditate, to take pictures, to be told a story, and to share in hardship. Which brings me to the beauty-
As we were given time to explore the Chapel, I noticed a group of students gathered by the alter. In a circle, they began singing, and slowly everyone in the church grew silent and turned to listen. Whether out of spirituality, awe, interest, or just plain respect, everyone in the small Chapel gave their most sincere attention. I turned on my camera and managed to catch the ending of their song. While listening, I was caught up in the moment. It really did feel like a completely together experience. These students made this offering, asking no recognition. They managed to provide everyone there with a moment of togetherness, regardless of religious affiliation.
A beautiful day.