Stunned, dazed, bereft, the four of us staggered around Key West in a fog.
We had opted for the "change everything" holiday advice to the bereaved.
Instead of hosting forty friends in our home for the most traditional of Christmas festivities, our tiny family barbecued seafood on the deck in Key West. (When we called our friends at home, dear Lynda, whose husband had also died that year, and who had chosen the "everything the same" alternative, and I spoke, and we agreed that there was no solace to be had in either case.)
Instead of a Christmas Eve service in the Gothic sanctuary in which we had spent almost all of the previous twenty-five Christmas Eves, we went to the Episcopal church on Duval Street, but ended up on the front steps in tears long before the liturgy concluded. There we were confronted with a band across the street playing music with obscene lyrics, a direct finger-in-your face gesture to those in the candlelit church. The Worst Christmas Eve Ever.
Instead of the wide expanse of the St. Augustine oceanfront, we tracked sand in from the narrow beaches of the Keys. Florida magic, Florida birds, Florida skies ~ but in a place we had not shared with Josh.
One of my discoveries during my many expeditions near Mile 0 was the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. My photo of its chancel window appears on Picturing God today! The website for the basilica is filled with information, including a description of the window ~ scroll down on this page.
I was reminded of that Key West day when another Picturing God contributor offered an image of the spires of the church some time ago. I was sure that somewhere in my messy mass of completely disorganized photos was a picture of the window.
2008. It was to be more than a year before I encountered any sense of God again, and nearly two years before I was to make friends with Mary at Wernersville, and to find a miniscule of a bit more.
But despite the elusive and silent God who was to dominate my seminary experience, I found this window to be beautifully powerful. I would love to see it again someday, someday now that the warmth of the Florida sun is perceptible again.