SNAP: Stories for Living

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Story #8 – Today, My Light is Bright

I can remember the dark church with stained glass, the white marble floor and candles that made shadows on the white statues of people from long ago. The church was full of beauty and I was a little girl who took in the colors of the shimmering shadows that held secrets in the musty smell of closed wooded doors, cold wooden floors and chilled air on my unclothed skin. There were men in dresses, women who looked like dark angels and a silence that took my voice. The rules were clear, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil for the evil know who you are and how to get you. I was a special little girl, chosen, innocent of the touch and the meaning. I can remember the tears at the touch of pain, the panic of restraint and the beautiful dishes in the gold box for a good girl who didn’t cry. These memories lingered in my dreams and flashes of confused memory for as long as I can remember. I was lost to the meaning, surely a beautiful building could hold no evil but my spirit was called to enter and revisit the past.

As an adult, I entered the building and saw the breathtaking beauty of a memory now a reality. It was dark, just as I remembered, yet the candles remained lit illuminating the statues and adding an element of life to the cold empty faces. I entered a small room, musty, cold, dark wood just as I had remembered. The details of the room so familiar, panic took my breath as I stood in the middle of a room and could remember flashes of terror of long ago. When I left that church, I was overcome with confusion. How could something so incredibly beautiful, so holy, so reverent, ignore God’s plan and allow evil to destroy and make mockery of what should have been but wasn’t. Hidden beneath the beauty of the rituals and the royal order of abuse was the heart of blackness that destroyed children. 

Recently I returned to the church for a service, to my surprise the building was lit brightly. The darkness and shadows were drowned out by the light from within the building and the people who glowed while worshiping. The musty smell was replaced by the smell of perfumes, empty pews filled with families. There was singing, prayer, and support from the congregation to me, a stranger from long ago. Warmness swelled so full in my heart, that I could forgive the building and therefore destroy the old evil that once held the church hostage in my mind. The stained glass glowed with an array of colors, the dark wood shined, its beauty shimmered all around the building and the music echoed. I was no longer the cold child, captive in a dark building, bribed with the pretty dishes to play a twisted game.

Once my light inside was so dim, hidden in dark secrets and memories that flooded me. Today, my light is as it should have been all those years ago a brightly lit candle of hope.

Note: this story is from 2009. View other 2009 stories and 2009 voting results. View current stories.