She walked into the dimly lit sanctuary and felt alone. Not the kind of alone where no one is around, but the kind of alone where you feel led toward the door, escorted out without so much as a head turning. A goodbye, without the customary spoken words to mark its end.
Had they done this to her? Or had she allowed this to happen? Was the sun sinking outside, or was it the sad corners of her mind closing the light without of these stained windows? She couldn’t be sure, but she felt the dark pangs of dim emptiness surrounding her closer than the wooden pews.
This was hers. This was home. This was where emotions rolled out like tears dripping slowly, dramatically from head bowed in confession. This was where joy flew in the air like rice and rose petals, memories of lace-draped happiness gilded with sun’s warm light. This was where holy water ran in a thin column from heavenly pitcher to newborn forehead, marked as Christ’s own for eternity. This was where white candles threw their symbolic flickering light upon the walls, urging hearts to do the same in the cold world outside. This was where friends said farewell, carried upon strong, grieving shoulders before being whisked away in stretched out cars, to be buried beneath the earth for now.
Hellos. Goodbyes. And everything in the middle, was here.
Somehow along the way it had changed. This was no longer hers. Given up, taken back . . . it was gone. And she was alone. With nothing more than the blackening colored windows, casting the last of day’s shadows beyond brass crosses and wooden rails. She wondered if she would feel something as she quietly escaped from the aloneness out the heavy wooden door. She wondered if the trace memories of friends and family would pull at her as she faded into the outside, urging her to stay. She wondered if she would miss it as immediately as the door closed definitively behind her, wishing she could have, would have stayed.
And with that, she said goodbye. If not forever, but for a moment.