A Tourist at Home

Sun shining, temperatures climbing steadily towards the upper 90s, and the humidity keeping pace, I took myself on a date today to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, and the adjacent square: a tourist in my adopted hometown. Having lived in the area for 17 years, I’ve adjusted to the hot summers, so was downtown by 9:15, knowing I’d escape the worst of the heat by being back home by 11.

I am not Catholic but had heard that the cathedral was a beautiful piece of architecture, and have wanted to see it for myself for some time. It was indeed beautiful, but seemed hollow. Being early on a weekday, there were relatively few tourists in the cathedral and even fewer worshipers. The blue-and-white painted Gothic ceilings were stunning, the stained glass and frescos gorgeous, and the details intricate. But where was the heart? The square, shaded by live oak trees and with a fountain in the middle, was an oasis in the heat. Alive and vibrant, it was a stark contrast to the nearly empty place of worship which at that moment was nothing more than pretty stones and glass. I sat in the square for a while after viewing the cathedral. Alone with my thoughts, I pondered architecture, life, spirituality, and my current lack of a job.

Maybe I should be looking more seriously for a job. Maybe I should try harder to share the truth of the gospel with others. Maybe I should bring more beauty and grace into my life. Places of worship – even empty ones – bring out the contemplative side of me. I took some notes in my notebook and then took myself home.

The question I ask myself now, is why am I writing about this? Who would care except me? So, I’m turning my contemplative thoughts on you, the reader. What makes you think deeply about life, spirituality, and beauty? What can you do today or tomorrow to unsettle yourself just a little, so that you can remake yourself as a better, more whole person? Enjoy the pictures, and I hope they bring out the contemplative side of you.