No-one home…

I should have woken, on my birthday, to a view of a Scottish loch and autumnal hillsides… perhaps even a glimpse of late-blooming heather…and a humungous Scottish breakfast. Instead, I woke to the knowledge that I could not eat all afternoon until the CT scan was done and there would be a long wait for answers ahead. Still, I was not alone and it was a  glorious day.

Two days before, we had not only been allowed, but invited into a church. We had visited a stone circle for the first time in many months… even shared a cider outside a pub. It almost felt as if normality were beginning, slowly, to return. We took that as a good sign.

“Let’s go to ORC,” said my companion. ‘Our rainbow chapel’, where so many of our adventures have taken flight, is a very special place, both to us and in its own right. A tiny church, tucked away behind an avenue of old yew trees, it stands upon layer after layer of history, from the farthest and most ancient to the more modern. There is a ‘feel’ to the place that has touched everyone we have taken there but, if the visitors book is to be believed, very few people call in for a visit, in spite of the windows and medieval wall paintings.

I am not religious in the traditional sense, nor do I belong to any specific Church, but there are places where, in all simplicity and with centuries of veneration and prayer infusing the very walls, you feel close to the Divine. There is a peace in such places that heals on levels far deeper than the physical. It should not be so, for, if you believe in a god at all, you know them to be everywhere… but there are places where Divinity seems to bend close.

Our Rainbow Chapel is definitely one of these.

But, in spite of a picture outside the church of the Good Shepherd welcoming lost sheep, the door was firmly locked. It was a bit of a blow… and I was already feeling a tad on the fragile side of emotional that day.  We have never before found the doors to this little church locked, no matter when we have visited, and it has always been a place of profound peace, healing and spiritual strength. The notice, not updated since the late June, stated that the church will remain closed to protect its team of cleaners, in spite of the re-opening of other churches for private prayer. There were no alternative chapels listed in the area that might be open, no acknowledgement that this tiny church has a special place in the hearts of many. Just old, bald facts and, for me on that day, an unmitigated sense of loss.

“…Thou art Everywhere, but I worship thee here:

Thou art without form, but I worship thee in these forms;

Thou needest no praise, yet I offer thee these prayers and salutations…”

Hindu prayer

On a day when the comfort of old familiar forms were what was needed, the Door was locked and there was, it seemed, no-one home. I found this incredibly sad and wondered how many, in the confusion of Covid, the losses and griefs of so many months of stolen normality, had sought the solace of these simple walls only to find the doors closed against them.

We sat instead in the churchyard, perched on a rickety bench in the sun, remembering that the last time we had sat thus, the snowdrops had been in bloom. I hope they will not bloom again before the little church can open her heart once more to those who come seeking.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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54 Responses to No-one home…

  1. willowdot21 says:

    So sad that churches have to close their doors 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KL Caley says:

    Good luck with your medical checks Sue. I’m not religious but I do understand how much comfort and solace it brings people and I hope, like you, others can find comfort in nature and taking a stroll near those sacred places until they can once again open their doors and welcome them. Great post, as always, lovely photos. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. besonian says:

    Beautifully felt and expressed Sue. As always. Great photograph of the crow too. What wonderful creatures they are. They know many things we don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A lovely read, as always. I’ve been thinking of you, Sue. Sending healing wishes xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jenanita01 says:

    We are both hoping there will be good news today, Sue…

    Like

  6. scifihammy says:

    A great pity you could not find respite in this lovely chapel – I hope it opens again soon. Happy Birthday! And good luck with the CT scan.

    Like

  7. V.M.Sang says:

    I hope your scan is positive, Sue. Such a pity you couldn’t find the peace you saught in this little church. I hope, like you, that it, and other places like it, are soon able to welcome visitors once again.

    Like

  8. noelleg44 says:

    I know the solace of a church, when it is empty or nearly so – you feel closer to God and can speak with him freely. Happy Birthday! And many more!

    Like

  9. Marcia says:

    Well, as birthdays go, I suspect you’ve had happier ones, Sue. Still, any birthday you can share with a friend is a positive thing, even if it isn’t celebratory in the traditional sense.

    And I’m sad to hear your favorite chapel has locked its doors. I understand why, but wish it had not been the case. I hope you were able to glean some comfort from being there, even if you couldn’t go inside. And I believe you were being watched over by the powers that be, inside the chapel or out, as walls are no obstacle for them. I hope that will sustain you until you are on the other side of both your own personal trials and the world-wide one we are all struggling with. My prayers and thoughts are with you daily! 🙂 ❤

    Like

  10. Happy birthday, not forgotten, just different.
    Your thoughts on religion are similar to mine. We’ve gone into some churches, lit candles for our departed loved ones in tribute, then come out feeling refreshed, calm, and at peace.
    Thinking of you today more than ever Sue. ❤

    Like

  11. Jules says:

    While many places of worship have partially opened others are still operating all on line with zoom or some such. So many things have closed that will not reopen.

    We can only hope that hearts can grow and bloom to fill the voids… And that we can open our own closed doors that keep fear and doubt within.

    Keep safe and know kind thoughts have and will continue to be sent your way… ~Jules

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      These old places are precious for so many more reasons than personal beliefs. There is so much history within thier walls…and when we close down our access to the past, we close the doors to both truth and learning, This concernes me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jules says:

        It would have been nice if there were more information. Several times I’ve tried to get into an old lighthouse… in New Jersey, but not only was it locked up tight there wasn’t any info as to when it was open. Of course when it was built there wasn’t any other structures blocking the view… But still it would be nice if there were a number to call or at least posted hours of opening.

        I can understand wanting to protect the interior. Even limit the amount of people at one time, but that would require hiring someone to be there all the time… And during these times no one wants any exposure that is unnecessary. It is sad when the rules change and we have no way of knowing what the future will hold.

        By the way belated Happy Birthday… October is a good month… I’m later on towards the end 😉

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          My birthday was mid September, but I spend much of it in a scanner… not exactly the best place to celebrate 😉

          This tiny chapel stands open to all who need it, all year round and unguarded normally… it is a beautiful and simple place and needs no other guardian than its own sanctity. Until Covid…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jules says:

            We have (not really all that old mind you) a bunch of covered bridges in our area. Mostly build by the Amish or Mennonite I think. While not religious really it is always sad when one disappears due to age. Some though are well maintained and once a couple from Germany I think was by one near me and I offered to take a photo of the couple together by the bridge.

            September is a good month too… I had my wedding anniversary in the middle of that month. 🙂

            Hope they are able to tell you results and a process for healing soon. ~Jules

            Like

  12. Having just read The Initiate (I’ll do the review when I get a chance), I understand why you’d be, to say the least, disappointed.

    Like

  13. That is sad, Sue. A little “normal” would be nice, wouldn’t it? The Hindu prayer is beautiful, and perhaps the lesson of the day. ❤

    Like

  14. Widdershins says:

    I see in the earlier comments you got your results back … can we hope for not-terrible news?

    Like

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    In many ways, these are tough times… I hope you were able to enjoy your birthday, despite the obstacles. ❤

    Like

  16. dgkaye says:

    So much sadness and closed doors in this god awful year Sue. I’m sorry missed your wonderful birthday trip. But let’s hope next year you will get back there. For now the focus is on healing ❤

    Like

  17. Peacefully inspiring.

    Like

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