Sunday, June 7, 2009

Church, God and The Bench.

This morning I woke up bright and early, walked down the street into the town that I now live in.  Katonah, NY is a beautiful village and if you've never been, I highly recommend that you visit it soon.  The homes that line each street are Victorian in architecture with antique rose gardens that are home to some of the finest statues of mary welcoming you.  The town is truly a gem yet not too perfect to be disliked.  I find myself feeling quite at home here and part of a community at last.  
I've even started mapping out where in the town I like to sit and watch people.  There are the commuters who run for the train to get back home to nyc, the villagers who sit with coffee and a paper every day until their other local friends arrive, and there is even a small crew of dogs that seem to be sure of where they are headed and where they last left traces.  As for myself, I am new here and orienting my self  has always been a tricky task.  I tend to like the bench that nobody else sits on but I have yet to find one.  There is a bench that I am getting friendlier with each morning and perhaps I will claim it as my own at 7 am.  It is situated under a fine maple tree with a beautiful view of the St. Mary's Church across the street.  The reason why I mention the bench is because early this morning I sat and watched as Church goers piled in single file to the beautiful church structure.  It was mostly an older crowd, ladies with canes and large brimmed hats and gentlemen who looked confused at first but comforted when they found their way to the giant arched doors. 
I sat there in my sweatpants, a tee shirt, running shoes with my coffee and watched these lovely people line up to enter and have a lovely moment with God.  They didn't seem annoyed to be up so early on a Sunday and most of them looked elated to have some place to go.  
My parent's come from different religious backgrounds and although my mother raised us with the structure of a predominantly Jewish religious foundation, I sort of always did my own thing.  I don't know if it could be called spiritual, traditional or mystical but it's what I do.  Yet on this quiet morning watching the people gather for Church was most enjoyable, even if I am not the most religious person.  Their heading into Church was really no different than my morning walk to town with smiling local faces and the fresh baked bread waiting outside of the deli, slouched against the door in a big brown bag.  In my opinion it doesn't really matter where God resides but that there is a sense of something more.  I think what is important is a sense of showing up and knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up; not to be confused with a sense of being wanted but rather a place to be, a gathering, a community - that somehow you are part of the circle.  
In this economy more people are staying home and less are traveling.  As much as it's bittersweet to say, it's really forcing us into community which in my opinion is wonderful.  Whether it be a community of prayer or one of coffee, it is there waiting.  The Church goers are doing their routine, they've probably done it for years and I watch as they drift into their old beautiful white palace of worship.  I guess in many ways, downtown Katonah for me is no different.  I am so grateful to have a community and a smiling face every few blocks.  There is nothing like being part of a circle, nothing. 

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