After spending this Monday morning at The Castle in Barcelona, high on a mountain overlooking the city and harbor and having found some peace there ~ and after having a deep, spiritual experience while praying in the Sagrada Familia church; I was not in the mood tonight for the throngs of people who parade up and down The Rambles (a famous promenade) every night. I was feeling out of place and lonely and when I begin to feel any sense of insecurity I often lapse into negative comments made to myself about how superficial people can be and on and on.
But then I looked up and saw a small sign, in Spanish, of course, telling of the entrance to a church. Without thought I veered left and entered the sanctuary and… my spirits were immediately lifted by two simultaneous sensations; the sweet smell of frankincense from earlier in the morning, and the sound of sweet classical, acoustic, Spanish guitar.
A young man sat alone on a chair directly in front of a canopy over a statue of Mary cradling infant Jesus in her arms and unknowingly, I assume, he was cradling his guitar in a similar fashion. The ancient church was lit by candles and the acoustics were remarkably good. The fifty or so people offered complete attention to the performer. I felt like I was in God’s living room. The concert was in progress when I entered and I was only able to experience three songs. But it was enough. Three chords would have accomplished the transformation.
I returned to the streets that were exactly as boisterous as before. But something had changed in me from just fifteen minutes earlier. All I wanted was for people to en-joy themselves. I realized that I had received what I was looking for even though I didn’t know I was looking for it: God. There is God on the Rambles in Barcelona; there is God in Charleston, South Carolina; there is God in a young guitarist revealing his gift to us; there is God in a simple, village priest welcoming and comforting the souls gathered in his church.
In my loneliness I was offered company. In my sense of desolation I was offered plenty. My emptiness was filled. My sense of purpose was restored. Just when I needed God most, God showed up. Or, perhaps, just when I needed God most, I showed up. It seems that God is always trying to lead me down alleyways that veer off the beaten path. If I would only listen… if I would only listen and heed.