WAS walking along the aisle of one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world, looking with wonder at it’s lofty columns, how they arched into holding the spectacular roof, way, way above my head when I saw the board inside: “Are you a Cathedral Builder?” I stopped awhile and read how costly it was to maintain such awesome a structure and that even a dollar or two I throw into the donation box, made me a cathedral builder!
And then in my mind’s eye even as I throw in a few dollars I turn to the distant doorway and see an old lady enter, packets in her hand.
She sees me throw in the bills and nods and in my mind, I know she will not do what I just did, because she ain’t no builder of cathedrals because she didn’t look at those lofty columns nor admire the roof so painstakingly built by builders of yore. ‘She ain’t no cathedral builder,’ I smile with disdain.
No, she did not look at the breathtaking walls, or admire the stained glass windows, no, she did not stop and stare at tombstones of the rich and famous and draw her breath at striking pulpit or impressive grotto.
She walked instead among the pews, and that’s when I saw them. They were I thought people praying but as I looked closer I saw they had come in from the bitter cold outside and were sleeping in the warmth the heaters of the cathedral provided inside. They were the homeless of the city.
And in my mind’s eye I saw her walk among them, and suddenly I saw her frail self, slide down a pew, and slip a packet she carried next to a sleeping man.
The man stirred, woke up, turned, saw the parcel next to him, opened it with eager hands and like one who hadn’t eaten for days wolfed down the food inside. I saw her go to another, and another, and place small packets next to their hungry, sleeping forms.
Never once did she look up at lofty columns, nor at the awesome roof above! She ne’er glanced at stained glass windows mentioned in the booklet I carried in my hand. She did not stare at the tombstones of the rich and famous, but walked from pew to pew giving off her little.
The sound I heard was not of stone cutters axe on marble, nor that of carpenter’s saw on wood, t’was the shocking sound of rustling plastic bags being opened, of a belch here and a crunch there, but I knew, oh yes I knew these were the actual sounds of a cathedral being built! For she was a cathedral builder..!