"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 55 Year Old Question: Finding my Spirituality

Nunnery with a Mini-Cooper in front near Vigo, Spain

Church in Barfleur, France
I have had an ambivalent relationship with the Catholic Church for a long time. As an 8 year old, I collected saint statues, read missionary magazines, sent money to the lepers and wanted to become a nun when I grew up. By the time I was 14; I drank beer, had kissed a boy and wore eye makeup. My priorities had changed.   
You probably are thinking why should you give a rat's patooty what I think of the Church? But in reality, it is the main focus of this blog post, so listen up. Hahaha  It has to do with my bad relationship with the saints and Jesus on the cross and the Virgin Mary. I sit here in Mexico listening to a priest who reminds me more of a clown than a religious figure, and I understand nothing he is talking about. Neither does my husband who is a native speaker of Spanish, but this priest is from Spain. I'm not sure if it is his accent or the cheap microphone, but all I've understood so far is something about tacos, frijoles and tortillas.
 I believe in God, the God of my understanding that has nothing to do with Jesus, Mary, Joseph or any of the Saints, and yet I love Churches. Can't get enough of them and they have to be Catholic. The Cathedral in Canterbury, the Church of England, left me flat. Had to escape the Cathedral grounds where I spent the night and find solace in the Catholic Church down the street.  Yet here I sit, in a Catholic Church in Cozumel preparing for my role as Godparent to my niece and nephew (my husband's sister's children) and I feel resentful.  My husband and I will be Godparents but as single people, not as a married couple, because we weren't married in the Catholic Church and that upsets me.

I just got back from a magnificent cruise where I visited the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the two Cathedrals of Cadiz. I passed a handful of Churches in Brussels, Cadiz and Barfleur and a nunnery near Vigo, Spain. What is it about me that loves the architecture and the ambiance of Churches, but not the things they teach? That is the 55 year old question (my age.)

Church in the countryside of Normandy

Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela

Grand Place, Brussels
Perhaps it has to do with my rejection of the Church at a young age and the finding of my spirituality many years later. I am not religious but I am a spiritual person. For now, wish me luck. Reciting a prayer in Spanish and not fumbling my role will be all I ask for on Saturday.  

Update .... Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
The First Communion went beautifully. Jesus and MariJose did great. (Note that with their two names, you get the Sacred Family .... Jesus, Mary and Joseph.) The ceremony was so moving. There was the typical total disorganization, but everything is taken in stride here where I now live. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law even came in from Merida to celebrate with us. Even though it included a lot of things I don't believe in, I took what I liked and ignored the rest. Here are a few shots from the First Communion. 

MariJose, Luh, Jesus & Moises

Mari and her older sister Yessin

And in case you are wondering, it does not suck to live in Cozumel! Here is what a typical Sunday is for my husband and me when we drive around the island.

Beach in Cozumel on east side

Out the car window on the other side of Cozumel

Sunday, June 12, 2011

first blog

Sarah & Liam
This is so scary, my first post in my first blog. Being of the baby boomer generation, I was comfortable with computers when they were IBM clones with PC DOS. My first computer, purchased through my professor at Florida Atlantic University, had Lotus 1-2-3 and Word Perfect and I blew the thing up in the first month of purchase in 1982. Luckily the computer came from the guy who built them for the university and also could fix them, so he had to reinstall my operating system. Back then before windows (the dinosaur age, I know) a basic knowledge of programming was helpful to use a computer. I was 27 years old and thought I had the world figured out. Little did I know that 28 years later, I would be grappling with setting up a blog about my travels and finding it oh so difficult. I am taking an online blog class to figure this out. (Thanks, Zora. Half of what you tell us seems like Greek to me - how fitting.) It will be the first computer class I have ever taken and I have been using personal computers half my life. (Wow, I just figured that out.)

I just took a trip from Barcelona to Dover for 10 days and it was amazing. With all the architectural gems I love finding along the way, I have decided to call my blog "Gargoyles & Graffiti," as today graffiti (which I hate but am trying to learn to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me. The photo above is of my niece and her beau, whom I met in Canterbury at the end of my trip.