I edged into the hospital chapel.
I often do this: finding a space to pray and be quiet sometime during the day so I am not ministering out of my own ‘messiah complex’. I also need to remind myself that I am dependent.
I became aware of someone else there: the cleaner. She said ‘shall I leave?’
I said ‘No: please carry on’. In the past I have left and found somewhere ‘quiet’.
And so I prayed and was still to the sound of a vacuum cleaner making whatever sound a vacuum cleaner makes.
The thing is I hardly noticed.
Sometimes silence is over equated with ‘sacredness’, to the extent that noise becomes ‘unholy’. I’ve never understood this- like the time the preacher says (affects annoying ‘holy’ voice, quite unlike ‘real’ voice) ‘Let us seek God in the silence’ and I want to say ‘What- is He absent in the noise and ordinary mess?’ (I think some people actually do believe that).
I think next time I see someone cleaning a chapel I won’t seek anywhere quieter- He is there just as much in the noise. Plus someone has to demonstrate that prayer is not a bizarre ritual done when no one else is there..