Only a Story

Why pay attention to all this religion nonsense? Why struggle to piece together a confusing explanation that raises as many questions as it answers — a violent, death-obsessed story with a preposterous ending.

Before we closed because of the contagion, sometimes, when I was in our church building at a quiet time — on a weekday, say — I would go to the choir room and pull open the wardrobe doors, revealing the red cassocks and white cottas. Mine was hanging among them. Do you know choir robes? They are assigned from singer to singer to singer as people come and go over the years.

In the empty choir room, everyone who has ever worn a robe is there: every note they ever sang left a trace in the fibers and the air. All the struggle, too; there is plenty of struggle in the beloved community. It is lived out in the context of worship.

I would sit on the piano bench and close my eyes. I wouldn’t stay long, only a minute. That was all I needed.

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