A Chapel and a Church

In Road Trip Stories by Gary


A Chapel and A Church

Sedona, AZ

In Arizona, my two places to relax were Sedona and Prescott.  On a Sunday, Anne, a co-worker, and I traveled to Sedona.  The red rock formations of Sedona are a magnet for tourists.  I love mountains, and the red rock mountains just drew me into them.  The strip mall shopping center had a bookstore that became a favorite of mine.  Behind the mall was a  parking lot that looked out on the red rock mountains and I spent a lot of time there looking at the mountains.



Also in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  The Chapel is built into the side of a mountain.  One Sunday, when I was alone, I visited the Chapel.  I went inside and prayed to replenish my soul on this long and difficult test project.  Many tourists were coming and going.  All were reverent upon entering the sanctuary.  I was able to meditate and sooth my soul.  I would return to this chapel.

Easter in Wickenburg, AZ

In early 2001 I was again working in Arizona.  I was still grieving the death of my daughter Kim.  In June of 2000 she was killed by a drunk driver.  One Sunday I journeyed to Sedona for the express purpose of visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  I entered the sanctuary and prayed for Kim.  I lit a candle in her memory.  I meditated and soothed my soul.

That same year I was in Wickenburg, AZ during Easter.  It was the first Easter after Kim’s death.  I wanted to attend church.  Once I had attended the LCMS Lutheran Church and they made it plain that ELCA Lutheran’s weren’t welcome there.  A friend recommended the Presbyterian Church so I attended Easter services there.

I took a seat in the back row.  As the church filled, I migrated to the center of the pew.  The church was filled with fresh flowers.  I worked to keep my emotions under control.  The weight of Kim’s death was still heavy on my shoulders.  The choir entered the sanctuary shouting “He is risen, He is risen.”  I couldn’t hold back the tears.  That statement had a new meaning on this Easter morning.  People next to me politely smiled at this stranger in their midst.  They were supportive and didn’t make a big deal of it.  I would drop a few more tears during that service.  I left refreshed with another affirmation of the life to come and that Kim was cradled in God’s arms.

Wherever you travel or wander, you can find a chapel or church that will welcome you to pray, meditate, and have a brief respite from the busy noisy world.  The Holy Spirit and fellow Christians will guide you to them.  It’s a blessing; pause, accept it, and appreciate it.