Sanctuaries

I am not a religious person and have little patience with “the church” as an institution. My pilgrimage walks of the last three years have been born of spiritual and literary yearnings, not from any religious motives as they would be commonly recognised.
And yet…
And yet I have found churches grand or small, famous or obscure, fine places of sanctuary from thunderstorms, rain, heat and as perfect for moments of reflection on what. I was doing wandering alone for 1,000 kilometres in foreign lands. Nothing new in this, but it reinforced for me the historical role of churches as places of sanctuary for all.
One day, struggling in heat and extreme humidity with no soul seen all day and no hint of shade and a blister forming, I dreamed (I cannot say prayed) for a place to sit out of the sun and protect my foot before real trouble set in. I came across a tiny chapel seemingly disused and amazingly (I cannot say miraculously) open and I sat and repaired my foot and pondered on what I was doing and why and after 30 minutes I was ready to plough on for the remaining 20 kilometres.
A small incident and a profound one for me which opened my mind and now I seek out these little places and reflect on those who have sat there before me.

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