Feeling Small in Chicago

No comments :
Last summer I was extremely stressed for about a month. It was the month after college graduation; I had just been sent out into the world of adulthood with no purpose. I knew I was supposed to be happy or excited or proud or something, but I felt stupid and lonely. I likened college graduation to running really fast towards a cliff and then falling. I see now how silly my mindset was then, but of course I can say that now.During that month I couldn’t see anything else; I applied for numerous jobs every day, staring at my computer and drafting cover letter after cover letter.

One afternoon I needed to take a break and I told my mom I would get groceries for her. I walked the most indirect route to Trader Joe’s and came across an old church in Lincoln Park along the way. I don’t think many people who aren’t regular attendees go into this on a weekday afternoon because the front desk lady was visibly confused when I walked in. I asked her if I could see the sanctuary, and since she couldn’t say no, she unlocked the door.

I walked into the sanctuary, sat down on a pew and just existed. No one was there; the sanctuary was dark, quiet and a bit musty. I’m religious, but I’m not Catholic and am a bit unfamiliar with certain High-Church traditions. But for some reason being inside this elaborate sanctuary calmed me down. It wasn’t one of those enormous, ancient European cathedrals, but I could still feel the weight of the people who had believed the same thing for years and had lived their lives through thick and thin; I felt very small and that felt nice. After some time passed of sitting and thinking, I walked around and found a prayer book to a saint I hadn’t heard of before. I read over the various wishes and thanksgiving for health, for jobs, for homes. I wrote down what I hoped for too, a hope for a change in my mindset. And then I left and bought some milk and cheese for my mom.

Illustration by Lauren Monaco.

No comments :