When we walk in the old wooden doors, Sasha says, "I like the way this place smells".
And so do I.
It smells old, and lived in. "Lived in" makes me feel safe.
It reminds me that people have gone before.
Sang the songs, said the prayers, sat in the straight-backed wooden pews....
I've always liked the old smells.
It's as though the years unfold the story through the smell.
Life has happened here.
I breath in the scent and it's as though I'm turning a page.
Uncovering another chapter in the continuing story.
As we walk to our spot the creaking of the floor boards begin and that is the start of the music.
The bells ring and I can be still.
Permission to stop. Listen. Breath. Wait. Hear.
Ancient liturgy - spoken one million times.
My voice joined with their voices.
Say the words enough times and you start to believe them again.
"If I'm bored during the homily, I just look around", she says.
There is so much to look at in this old, ancient space.
Small crosses and windows with vibrant color.
Flickering flames dancing on the tops of the candles.
Art and images - each with a history.
The truth is, if I'm bored, I look around too.
"Peace of Christ"
The familiar refrain.
It is passed over and over complete with a firm handshake.
Hands that are wrinkled and worn or new and cold.
No forced conversation.
No pressure to perform.
No awkward silence.
"Behold who you are, become who you receive..."
And the so the circle begins.
Faces all around you with stories each their own.
But still they stand in the circle.
When the bread comes around you receive it and the echo begins -
"The body of Christ..
The body of Christ...
The body of Christ..."
Over and over, again and again.
You look around at the circle and find yourself within it, no matter how you are different.
There is no gatekeeper here.
The bread is sweet with molasses.
It tastes the same every time. Chewy and dense.
It feels good for it to be the same. Once that familiar taste hits your tongue peace settles in.
It's like going home for your favorite meal.
"I like the wine, is it OK that I had a really big gulp?", she asks.
Like the bread, it's always the same. An acquired taste for an eight year old.
She is part of the circle too, offered the same cup.
We laugh later about her big gulp, but I'm glad she likes it.
When the circles are through, he takes the cups - tips his head back and polishes them off.
One by one until the last drops are consumed.
The drops are savoured and enjoyed, each one.
Just as they should be.
Placed empty on the table, waiting for another feast, another day.