The lines wrapped around the building, throngs of people from every nation were waiting to get in.
I’d been here before in 2006, but there was a difference in the air this time. As we made our way to the ticket office, I glimpsed a powerful man standing just inside the ancient wooden doors of Westminster Abbey. Cloaked in black with a red sash, I was instantly intrigued. Holy men move me; not in the way of a follower but in the ways of what lives in my heart and inspires me to practice what I teach every day.
I motioned to him and said in a voice just loud enough to be heard over the crowd but soft enough as to not be intrusive; “Father will you please bless me?” He replied, “Yes, I’ll wait for you here.”
As I approached him it was as if I’d known him all my life, yet he was a stranger amongst thousands of others. He took my hand and the hand of my friend Debra and began praying. Here we were in the middle of so many tourists you could hardly move and yet, a sense of being the only one in the Abbey overcame me. How could I know that I was being blessed by a man who has dined with Queen Elizabeth on more than one occasion, while standing in the very place where Princess Diana and the future King of England were married in 1981.
Time and history stood still and as we were about to go our separate ways, he whispered this; “Do you see that large wooden door in the back of the Abbey?” I struggled to find it with all the tourists flocking about like baby chicks trying to find their mother. “Yes, I see it.” He continued, “Go there my child and you can pray and meditate privately.” I thanked him and found my footing as if coming off of a cloud, swirling back down to the staggering energy of earth. We parted and a warm glow consumed me.
An hour or so later we finally made our way to the ancient door and looking around so as to not be discovered, we slipped behind the massive doors into a world beyond the stone. Built 929 years ago, we bore witness to a faded ancient mosaic of Jesus that was cast upon the stone. The room was empty yet so full of palpable energy. We sat in silence, struggling successfully to honor the “no photos” rule, recognizing and desperately wanting to preserve the power of this moment. Outside the world was loud, maddening and intrusive; inside the pure beauty of silence blanketed us. Were we really the only two people invited to partake of this majesty? Somehow, I was sure we were not but for those brief moments, my mind entertained the thought, that this was a visual display of the power of the Holy Spirit, whom I’ve given my life to for more than twenty-six years, to do with, whatever is pleasing to the heavens. I sat in silence, my eyes welling up with gratitude, my tears salting the face of this old soul and I was replete with a peace that lifted me to high places yet humbled me to the floor.
Reverend Michael had no way of knowing that we were in this sacred chapel when suddenly we heard his voice. Over the noise of a hustling crowd, he politely asked all the tourists to take a moment of silence and be still. A hush fell over the abbey, yet another gift, stillness. It was potent, powerful and we were engulfed in a state that was rapturous. He did not know we were there.
As we left the chapel and merged back into the crowd. I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming sense of love mingled with the fragrance of sweet surrender. No miracles, no grand displays, just a whisper, a nod and a moment of oneness. It was and will remain a memory unlike any other.