A Wayward Moment


Diana Creel Elarde


It is in the morning hours when I slip inside the door. The entrance is empty, but looking up the aisle I can see people kneeling, being led by a priest or whatever they refer to their holy man as. I creep forward not wanting to disturb or be noticed. I hear his voice echoing like an ancient call to spirit, perhaps my spirit.

This place is not of your people, my mother would say. I can hear her disapproving voice as I move into the back pew. No church is of my people, or perhaps not of me.

I fight the temptation to look at my watch. I know I should be at work soon. Yet here I sit. Some days I wonder how I would be without the shoulds in my life. How does life look and feel in free fall? I can’t imagine a day without the list of what to do or who to be. Yes, the shoulds rule in my life.

I strain my ears to hear the words the holy man is sharing with the front aisles. His voice is relatively quiet in such a big space. Not used to people in the back, I conclude, and debate if I could quietly move forward without being heard.

“If we use our light to shine…” I hear a few words and the rest fade into the tall sanctuary walls.

Checking my watch I discover it is now 8:05. If I leave now I could come up with a plausible excuse as to why I am late, avoiding the disappointment in my supervisor’s eyes as she gives me the necessary speech. I do hate to disappoint those eyes. They are so kind and generous.

Our light..? I question, still thinking of my supervisor. Yeah, maybe she has that light. I have to admit there are days when her happiness irritates me. But it’s nice compared to some of the people I work with who have no joy in their job.

“Our light changes the world, and through our light we do great work.” The words echo on the wall behind me and then melt away. I look up to see where the words travel, what wall they bounce off of before finding my ears. Craning my neck I stop at the faces of long-robed men gazing down on me through the colored light of the windows. Each holds a word: Faith, Love, Hope. Their solemn faces offering me the peace of such words.

I repeat the three together, slowly feeling the power of their link. They do add each other, I decide. Mentally I write them, absorbing them deep within me, vowing to carry the strength of their union.

The front pews are now standing, their leader raising his palms up, as if giving freedom and flight to the spirits of all within the sanctuary.

Quickly I move to the aisle, bowing towards the front of the church, like I saw my father do years before he left. I glance up before my exit, catching my three-worded mantra one last time before I slip out.

The sun is bright, blinding me for a few moments. I stumble a bit as I walk down the couple of steps leading to the street. Making my way to the office I send a small prayer, floating it skyward, weaving it through the tall city buildings: May the light within my supervisor today be shining enough for me to keep my job.