I went to mass again today, in the Duomo. (see:http://www.tuscanypass.com/tuscany_attractions/14016_duomo-san-gimignano.html)
For some reason that has to do with the threads of continuity in my life reconnecting, I am moved by that experience. It’s as if I am ready to sense the profound logic and understanding that informs the fusion of architecture, painting, ritual, music, and stories in the service of building community. That fusion has nothing to do with the bureaucratic church as an institution for secular power– the one that incubates the monsters who abuse children, women, and men, the weak, the disenfranchised, the freaks, the oddballs and weirdos of all stripes, nationalities, and ethnicities whom it was designed, originally it would seem, to serve. Rather, I connect with the eternal ideas and emotions that this deeply flawed human institution struggles to materialize. Tears pool in my eyes and slide down my cheeks and I can’t stop them. I feel safe (!) and free to let the big and little sorrows and pains I’ve accumulated through life to emerge from those hidey-holes where I’ve barricaded them over the years so as not to feel their acid burn. With each visit, some piece of the painful past is released and melts away. This is the slow healing that I have been needing to do since, seven years ago, we buried my father, and ten years ago, I lost the possibility of making a good marriage with the father of my daughter, and the toxic fallout of my weaknesses: my breaches of faith, poor judgment, procrastination, fear, lack of focus, dishonesty, indecision. I have so far to go, but at least I can glimpse the way.
[Barna da Siena (La Bottega dei Memmi ?), The Agony in the Garden