The prayer room

It was the last day of my middle school.  I had arrived early, one of the first few.  The skies were still dark with only a hint of sunlight seeping into the new day.  The school itself was still ensconced in a rare silence. Few lights had been turned on in the hallways, no doubt by Sister A, the headmistress of the convent girl school.  I went to my class, dropped off my almost-empty school bag and walked down the side staircase.  My sleepy senses were waking up with every step I took.

Slowly, I opened the door to the small prayer room and looked inside.  No one was there yet.  Dark and permeated with a sharp lavender scent, the room was only lit with a few candles.  One had almost melted completely, I realized wistfully. Chairs were placed in rows around the room, like makeshift pews.  I carefully made my way to a seat closest to the small statue placed in the middle of the room.  There She stood with open, welcoming arms.  Her face, caressed by the soft flickering candle light, had never looked kinder. My heart grew heavy, my chest tightened.  I clasped my hands together on my lap, closed my eyes and recited the familiar prayer silently.  It would be my last time in that room.  It was only fitting.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

The prayer that I had first learned when I entered the convent school was one that I would recite over and over again at every mass.  But never in the prayer room.  In that safe space, it was just Her and me. I would sit on that same seat, in the near dark. I would talk to Her silently and emptied my heart.  I shared all my fears, my pains and the many joys I experienced.  I didn’t hold much back, not even my doubts about God’s existence and Hers.

Despite years of prayers and countless visits to the prayer room, I was still unsure I was made for the Catholic faith. How I desired to belong then, to embrace a religion I already knew and walk the same path as many of my friends. I was graduating from the convent a drifter, I thought, ruefully and apologetically.  Nevertheless, the school, especially its prayer room, had been a place of refuge for me in my tumultuous growing years.  It was a blessing I have continued to be grateful for.

Thank you for everything , I said to Her.

I continued to sit there for a while, absorbing every peaceful moment with Her until I started hearing shuffling of footsteps outside the door.  Sister A would be coming in soon to blow out the candles.  It was time to go to class and join my friends.

 

 

*Featured image by Hakan Erenler from Pexels

 

17 thoughts on “The prayer room

  1. What a beautiful post, my friend. I really do love your reflections on meaningful times of your life. (I still remember the one of cooking with your landlady). I’m not a religious person, though I do consider myself spiritually open. What you describe reminds me of the poignancy of our human journey, the search for belonging, and in an odd way, a recognition of the unknowable mystery that fills us with yearning. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana, thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read. Perceptive as always, you read the post the way I was hoping it would be read. I struggled writing it, unsure if I could really capture my feelings accurately. Like you, I am not a religious person and my spirituality is not hinged on a particular faith. Having said that, it was an important part of my life, To this day, I still find myself visiting the room in my mind from time to time. 🙂 Thank you for always supporting me, Diana. ❤️ Have a wonderful week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like your previous commenter, I am not a religious person, but I was at the age you describe. Although I don’t hold fast to the tenets of faith adhered to by any of the branches of Christianity, years of Sunday School, Youth Clubs, Scripture A-Level and churchgoing laid a foundation that many kids are missing. If there had been nobody guiding my decisions at a certain age, I don’t like to think where I would have ended up. It can take years of life to absorb other reasons for treating others as you want to be treated.

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    • Cathy, you brought up a very important point. It is a very different world and time we live in now. Morality doesn’t quite hold the same value as it used to. Technology has certainly become the forefront of our daily existence.

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  3. So sweet. I seek refuge in Her as well. I lean on Her, as I know She being a mother Herself can guide me through this journey of motherhood. Whenever I lose patience and peace in my heart, I seek for Her love and comfort.
    The decision to be open to the children God would send me has come at a cost. As the world always seeks to persecute our family. But She holds me in her arms as only a mother could and reassures me that She’s right beside me.
    Such a lovely post, thanks for sharing. Blessings to you during this lent time. 😊🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much blessings to you too! Thank you for sharing your perspective and your faith. Yes, it was much easier for to pray to Her as I felt that she would listen. As a mother and a woman, She would understand most. it makes me sad to hear that people would persecute your family for your choices. We should all spend more time helping others than putting others down. Stay strong and take good care. ❤️

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      • Thank you. Yes, it’s sad to know people have yet to know what indeed a blessing children truly are. But now I pray for patience and guidance. I try to pray for people that have negative things to say, as they have yet to have a relationship with the Lord.
        Thank you, likewise. 😊🙏🏽

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can totally relate to this post. I remember the days when I’d go to the prayer room and pour my heart out to God. I would spend hours praying until I feel more peaceful. My special moments with Him and the Blessed Mother renews my spirit and strengthens me to face life’s challenges again.

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