Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Trinity Churchyard

A happy side effect of losing close family members at a young age is that I never feel uncomfortable with the concept of death. I often talk to my relatives who have crossed-over. I think about them all of the time; I find reminders of them everywhere; I feel their presence in my daily life. On and off in my life I've done volunteer work in nursing homes, with hospice, and in critical care facilities in hospitals. It's something I'm considering doing again - there's so much to be learned about life from the dying.

Because of my comfort with death and dying, I find comfort in places like cemeteries. They're such peaceful places. On my lunch break yesterday, I went to do an errand and went past Trinity Churchyard, this tiny plot of land that sits at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. It's a small green haven among the concrete and constant construction in the area. It is the final resting place for a number of famous New Yorkers, Alexander Hamilton being the most iconic figure there. I couldn't resist stepping inside for a moment. Once I crossed through the gate, the noise of the city seemed to dissipate. I don't know how that happened. The sunshine seemed a little brighter, the air felt a little sweeter. It actually felt homey.

Much to my relief, many other people were seated on the benches that are dotted along the cemetery paths. People enjoying their lunch, talking with friends, sitting quietly, thinking. It was a sweet thing to see the living and the dead co-exist in such an easy harmony. It's exactly what a final resting place should be.

I felt drawn to take a look into Trinity Church as well. I felt like I was peeking into someone's home. It's a fairly small church when compared to the likes of St. Pat's or St. John the Divine, but it feels warmer, like a place where you could take your problems and worries and ask for help. In the main hall, I felt like I was so close to something holy, a kind and empathic ear.

In the back of the church there is a small chapel meant for quiet contemplation and prayer. There was a man at the front weeping, softly. He must be going through a very hard time. I lit one of the candles just outside the chapel and took a seat in the back. I thanked God for helping me through these last few weeks, offered up my immense gratitude for my wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive and helpful.

Just before I left, I found myself saying a little prayer for the man at the front of the chapel. I don't know him, will probably never know him. I don't know what he's going through but it must be something very difficult. I prayed that the same strength I've found in the past few weeks will touch him as well, that somehow the strength and positive outlook that's been such a gift to me will find its way to him also. With all of the abundant blessings in my own life, I felt that it was the least I could do.

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