(A/N: an attempt to compose a poem out of dialogue. Quotes are taken from an actual person that I know.)
“I want a girlfriend so badly.” A void of loneliness will never fade.
“Is it worth talking to this girl if you’re not going to date them?” It is not worth talking to them. Because you are not worth talking to.
“Don’t you look at every woman and just choose whether or not you’d date them?” I do not dare to assume anything. I have my flaws, and I do not judge theirs.
“You shouldn’t disrespect the Bible. Every Adam has an Eve, and you shouldn’t be alone.” If I had to choose between perpetual solitude and your company, I would be lonely.
“Ohhh shit! You need to sabotage their relationship, bro, you totally have a chance.” Do Christians not believe in loyalty and trust? Or is that just you?
“You’re not thinking like a father.” I pray you will never be a father.
“I’m not transphobic, but I do not want those people in the bathroom with my daughter.” She’s in more danger with you than she is with one of them.
“That’s just my point of view, as a Christian.“
During the weekdays, silence and darkness envelop the Church. However, there is one room, always open to the public, always welcoming, always ready to receive a visitor. While one might dismiss it, considering it unimpressive compared to the main chapel, I love the Perpetual Adoration chapel for what it is. Although it might seem too small, and although many people might not be able to fit into it, I feel that the chapel is able to provide an individual experience for everyone, no matter how many people there are, and it’s just nice to bathe in the sunlight that streams in through the open window. The window brings in fresh air and amplifies the smell of fresh flowers at the feet of the wooden, glittering golden-canopied altar which stands before the pews where churchgoers and those solace-seekers sit.
Outside of the Chapel, I do not seclude myself. However, although my community is nurturing and wonderful, like all communities, there are people and challenges that can be frustrating. Sometimes, I need a place to retreat from my troubles, to mentally relax, to heal, to reflect and find my inner strength. As a child, I was confronted with my oddities by people blunt enough to point them out. These confrontations led me to promise to always turn away from what was wrong, to be gregarious and compassionate, to be honest, but not to throw down the truth like a gauntlet. Moving to my current hometown allowed me to act on these promises and start anew, and the chapel has allowed me to get up whenever I felt the turmoil within.
Solitude in the chapel, facing my thoughts, allows me to make important decisions, and to remember exactly how fortunate I am. When writing an article about the narrow-minded nature of our English curriculum and the need for our reading material to be more multicultural, I ended up editing the article so that it was as constructive as it could be, and so that it didn’t have the acerbic bite that bullying has on other people. I remembered Professor Randy Pausch’s quotation and tried to write by it, “Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcomed.”
Often I sit in the chapel and remember the many companions whose paths have crossed mine. Their viewpoints on life, science and spirituality have widened my own. These days, I could be sitting in the chapel, and I’ll remember a certain conversation with my friend Emma about faith in God or just some sharp and intelligent observation or jest, and it will leave me smiling, and once, in an overwhelming wave of gratitude, near tears.
Over the summer, while I was taking a creative writing class in New York City, I’d make time to sit by myself in the chapel to reflect on my fellow writers, who thrust me out into the creative writing world and humbled me. I found myself in awe of the stories they shared and hoped that my own pieces blew away their expectations as theirs did mine.
Although I will greatly miss the haven that I’ve called home for the past six years, I feel a great amount of gratitude to have had a place where I could drop everything and reflect, where I could push aside the world’s insanity and ignore the buzzing activity that fills my home.