MW| ET Student
Words like quaint and homely came to mind as we wove down England’s hedgerowed lanes. To drink in the sights of England, I sat quietly and let my eyes stay glued on the window. I was four weeks late to the trip, thanks to a hole in my heart and a stroke just 12 hours before the group’s departure from the Minneapolis airport, so the novelty of the green patch-quilt and speckled sheep remained in my chest; I deliriously ached to see more.
The light drizzle, typical of English countryside, chilled the sacred space of Little Gidding Chapel just outside of Cambridge, my first stop on this trip. The tucked stone structure boasted vaulted wooden ceilings framing an aisle below. As if the confidence of those who had gone before me emanated from below my feet, the smooth stone bolstered my steps forward toward the apse.
The moment felt too intimate to share with my seventeen other travelers milling behind me, so I leaned into the damp wood of a wedged door – ORATORY: FOR PRIVATE PRAYER. I ducked my head under the doorframe as the structure creaked at my intrusion. A few short chairs and a table were scattered haphazardly. A metal ladder glared in the corner, out of place. My eyes wandered at the nothingness of this space until they landed on the centered words of the stained glass. The window simply read, “It is the right good old way you are in. Keep in it.”
I froze with the sound of laughter slipping through the cracked door behind me and a holy moment before me as I realized I had almost cancelled my delayed flight just days before. I had believed the stroke had been some divine message. Doubt had plagued me nearly every moment of my first 24 international hours, and now — a message. Hundreds of years old, tucked into the back of a little chapel in the rolling hills of England, just for me.