Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chapel A Day- Day 11 (Chasing Peace)

"This is definitely not a chapel," I think to myself as I sit in quite possibly one of the most beautiful and elegant churches along the Gulf Coast. The word 'chapel' brings to mind (at least to my mind) a small country church, or a small room within a church that is set aside for more private worship.
Trust me on this one. There is nothing small about the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  

At its highest point, the ceiling is 60 feet and its twin towers are 103 feet tall. The stained-glass windows (made in Munich, Germany) are 23' tall and are breathtakingly beautiful. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cathedral stands tall and proud in the heart of downtown Mobile, Alabama. 

Although not a Catholic, I have spent many hours in this church meditating, praying and shutting out the world for at least a few moments in time. Even before this Lenten Chapel-A-Day odyssey began, I would seek out an open sanctuary from time to time for a spiritual refueling stop. It's not easy to find churches that are open during the weekdays. I learned that the Cathedral is open daily-- for tours, for a noon mass for Roman Catholics.. and simply as a place of prayer and spiritual reflection for all-- including this Protestant who finds the church a place of comfort, a place of enlightenment, and a place of peace.

One of the scriptures in my chapel-time this week comes from Psalm 34: "Seek peace and pursue it." (verse 14) I've read that verse many times. I've highlighted it and underlined it. But this time my eyes focused on one.. very small... word.


Pursue. The definition includes the synonyms: persist, hunt... and chase.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a huge fan of keeping the peace. But, for me, that typically means a passive action-- mediating a disagreement (when asked) between other people; walking away from a touchy situation; smiling when I want to scream! 

This one...very small... word presents me with a challenge to examine my efforts at 'keeping the peace."  How can I become more effective in creating an atmosphere of  peace in the world around me? How can I "chase" peace in order to create a better environment and better relationships--- for my family, my friends, my community and my world?

Truth is---I don't know just yet. Like this majestic cathedral in which I sit, constructing a plan for peace is a huge undertaking...even on a small, personal scale. 

But, it's something I intend to think about in the coming days. 

In no small measure.


  1. Drexel, having very little time over the past three months to read the daily trials and joys of my friends on Facebook, I am overcome with a new sense of awareness of finding peace by the reading your blog tonite. I have been the primary, and most of the times only, caregiver of a gentle man of only 50 years who was diagnosed with late stage Small Cell Cancer in mid December. Watching each day this man's courage, denial, acceptance and sheer will to live and sharing the three month journey to the end of life has been my privilege. To live your last days in such pain should not be. Knowing your days are numbered, most marked with intense pain, all with medicated relief, a few with friends hoping to share memories of the past,and others creating new ones for those left behind. Within days of the turning point for us both, peace is what we both are seeking now. The path we have traveled together and shared searching for eternal peace has been at times uphill clifts and mountain slides. I am praying he will be forever free of pain and find everlasting peace in the arms of his Lord. I am hoping that I will always have the presense of mind to remember when my search really started and hoping to find the same.

  2. GayNell, You are a beautiful, strong woman of faith. As I wrote this blog, I was focusing more on the peace "between" others. You are striving to create peace "for" another-- here on Earth, and you are praying for that person's peace on the other side. Thank you for sharing and for taking the idea of pursuing peace to another--extraordinary--level.
    What an amazing gift you are to this man as he fights the good fight and prepares to finish the race. (2 Timothy 4:7.)
    I will pray for peace for both of you... and I respectfully ask all those who may read this blog to do the same. With Love, Drexel