I remember the feeling of my face slowly, oh so slowly, stretching into a small smile.
It’s shocking, really, what you can accomplish in 48 hours—especially when you opt not to sleep, throw caution to the wind, and run like hell.
There I was, on a full bus. My best friend asleep next to me after we’d had a late night, barely making our early morning bus tour. And me? Entirely aware, I buzzed with the sensation of feeling truly, wholly, alive. I couldn’t sleep. I was awake with an alertness of being that rang in my cells like an early-warning system that more was to come.
I felt each second ticking by with an awareness that was exquisite. There was a sense of calm and rightness within me. I settled into it, hoping to capture the moment in my memory like a time capsule I could open later.
The writer in me wanted to pull out my journal from the bag on my lap and write, right then and there. But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to experience the moment, to live it in real time rather than through the lens of my camera, a caption, a text, or even my pen.
I wanted to simply be.
There was something about that lull of the bus motion and the scenery in front of me as it slowly passed by in the window as we drove. I couldn’t get enough. The colors, vibrant. My eyes were watching but they began to unfocus. My breathing was getting deeper, more regular.
Looking out over the Irish landscape as it rolled by, I felt at peace. And then that smile slowly crept across my face as a new song came on over the speakers on the bus: “Take me to Church.”
Amen to that.
I smiled throughout the entire song. I smiled in irony. In joy. In pure pleasure. In knowing. That moment, I realized I was in my church.
Without seeking it, I had found it. I was in a place of grace. All morning, I had a feeling that I was having trouble putting a name to. It was the sense of tapping into what fulfills me and gives me my faith in the world. Giving me hope for, well, everything. And it gives me a feeling of peace, of purpose, and of being an inspired, creative human in this world with things to contribute.
That feeling? That feeling is my church. I found it that day on the bus when I wasn’t looking. It turns out, it was there all along. It wasn’t in the music or the gorgeous scenery, although I’m sure those helped.
Rarely in my life have I had a feeling that was as right as those minutes that the song played. They felt choreographed for my benefit. Eventually, the moment died and my smiled melted away. It was a moment that I secreted away (until now, that is). Ultimately, the experience left me with the certainty that in order to settle into the rightness, we must run toward life, and not away from it.
We are our own church. May we embrace the unknown, always look outside our windows, and forever feel that we carry our practice with us as we find reverence in this world we live in.
Author & Editor: Molly Murphy
Image: Author’s Own
Copy editor: Callie Rushton
Social editor: Waylon Lewis