The earth spins silently around the sun, revolving from day to night then day in the eternal celestial dance. The sun shines on all parts of the earth equally, without reservation or discernment. It also shines on all humans equally, no matter their color, culture or creed.
There is a special place created by man in 1260 that filters the sunlight through pictures and stories. This building is actually the fourth one to stand on this site, all dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. For more than 1,700 years, pilgrims have traveled to the Cathedral in Chartres, France to show their devotion to Mary and be blessed by her.
Pushing open the heavy wooden door and walking into the gloom of the interior, my eyes take a moment to adjust. Even thought I cannot discern details of the interior, I sense a vast space rising above me, seemingly to infinity.
Slowly, my eyes adjust to the gloom and I feel small, insignificant, in the face of so much space. What can hold me together so I don’t spin apart?
The stained glass windows. They hold the key to emptiness. They give meaning to my life, don’t they?
Sunlight from a zillion miles away filters through the glass, coloring the floor in colors of red, umber, green and gold. These pieces of color are assembled to tell the story of creation, destruction and the coming of the one who will save us from ourselves. The story of Christianity is told in these panes of glass, 1,100 of them.
It isn’t the minute details that fascinate me, but the sense of reverence that permeates the air. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have traveled to this spot to adore Mary, the mother of Jesus. They have walked these stones in their bare feet or with sandals that are worn through, taking one more step to reach their dream.
To see the Shroud of Mary that is encased in the far left corner of this magnificent Cathedral.
As I stand in front of the chapel, looking at the shroud, I can’t help but think of how many people have done the same thing. How many others have felt the energy of this simple piece of cloth that Mary wore while she was giving birth to Jesus?
The sunlight is filtered by the stain glass above the shroud. It filters the light through the stories told on its surface. It struck me that I was being educated by the people who created this art.
I continued to the opposite side of the Cathedral, passing several other alcoves and places of worship. Until I saw it on the floor, as if it were waiting for me.
A single beam of light, shining through a piece of clear glass. There were no stories filtering the light, just a clear opening for it to shine in all of its brilliance.
I stood in the pool of divine light and felt loved by God. In the place of a million stories (told in the stained glass and in the hearts of all who had ever set foot in this building), God found me. And he loved me, without my having to do anything but allow his love to flow into my heart.
The light changed for me in that moment. Accepting the gift, I now step forward. To join the celestial dance of love.
The Heart Dance.
When you know you are loved for who you are, not who you think you should be. When you know that you are enough, because you are loved for who you are. When you are seen and loved, just as you are, in this moment.
Why don’t you step into the pool of light unfiltered by stories, and join the dance?