After 3 years, I finally went.
As I hesitatingly pull into the parking lot, rain started to sprinkle. I was nervous, but somehow, committed. I walked briskly towards the glass doors, up the stairs I went. I can already smell the residual frankincense from previous ceremonies. As I enter this magnificent architectural structure, I was suprised with the amount of people who were already present, waiting for the service to commence. I mean, I was already 45 minutes early. Nervously, I walked through the pews as those wandering eyes follow me. I looked around for the place where I am supposed to be, only to find this little room already occupied. I see through the glass windows, and a lady was sitting in front of the priest. Chills started to run down my spine. My heart had begun to race. My eyes darted to find a good place to sit. I walked over to the second row near the altar, and people, who seemed like grandparents, were all chatting about how the weather, news, sports – you know, small talk. My eyes started to wander, as I try to observe if there was a line to this little room I was supposed to be at. No patterns or systems seem to emerge, I decided that I was the one next in line then. As I wait intently, I tried to feel calm and solemn, trying to embody the peace that embraced the place. But alas, I kept thinking about what I was supposed to say in this little room. I was stricken with guilt and grief. Shame and hopelessness overpowered my will to go in this little room. But somehow, I remained frozen in this little seat I chose. Suddenly, I hear the door crack open. My pulse has jumped into the millions. I stood up and walked to this room, as though rehearsed, and I sat down in the chair vis-a-vis with a man that looked humble and peaceful. Naturally, he started the conversation. When it was my turn to talk, a big lump decided to show up in my throat. My heart was pounding. But, I still found this ounce of strength and courage to convey what has happened in the past 3 years. The emotions I was experiencing while I was waiting – shame, grief – were magnified a thousand fold as I tell him the stories. But after some 10 minutes, which felt like eternity, I wrapped it up. After saying these things out loud to this stranger, I felt nervous about what he was going to say, but a little relieved as though some weight has been lifted from my shoulders. And then, the most calming thing happened: he told me that I am and forever will be always loved, and that I was forgiven. Right after we bid adieu, I stood up, walked towards the pews, kneeled and prayed. I do not think I have ever felt that at peace in a very long time.