I had a meeting that took me around a detour the put me on a street, that made me do a U-turn, that put me through a neighborhood that spit me out on the doorstep of this beautiful building, so I stopped.
The church was open, yet deserted, save for three priests that wandered here and there, undoubtedly keeping an eye on the stranger with the camera and the torn jeans. (I didn't say it was a fancy meeting.)
I said hello to them as they walked quietly back and forth, but only got a head -nod and a mumble. Perhaps they had taken a vow of silence, I thought, until, 10 steps past me, they started, or re-started, an animated conversation in a language I could not begin to follow. Perhaps they thought me not worthy of a conversation, not in a bad way, but in a "he's just a tourist so leave him alone" kind of way.
As I wandered in and out of the open doors, I wondered if they would object to a few pictures. I tried to ask one young man, who came in to light a few candles, but he begged off and said that he didn't speak any English, so I waited until he left and then took some pictures, loving the mosaic work inside and out, and the quiet of the grounds. As I wandered I came across a plaque commemorating the Armenian Genocide of 1915. I had heard about it but did not know about it. So, I did what all good computer people do, I went to Wikipedia to learn more.
The horror of an event like this, actually, a long string of events, is hard to fathom, yet depressingly close at hand. Other nations, groups, tribes, peoples, are doing this still, trying to eradicate "the other." Why? Is your God so weak that He can not brook any opposition? Is your ethnic purity so pure that having us mongrels around pollutes even the water you drink?
My daughter's history class is approaching WWII and we started talking about the Holocaust and the impact it had on the world. She is so young and innocent that she has (thank goodness) a hard time conceptualizing such atrocities. I spoke of the TV series, "The World at War" that played in to my living room once a week and taught me my first lessons in brutality and the reign of men. The scale of the Armenian holocaust, while smaller, seems to be a precursor to the horrors of the Nazi plan.
It was a beautiful day as I wandered around this building, this edifice to worship and to a higher life. Yet, as I read the words, and researched the story, I felt clouds gather. We treat each other so badly, we little humans who think was are so big. I haven't been much fun on the blog as of late, sorry about that. Some friends are going through tough times and so I absorb some of their moods and go in to quiet mode.
I challenge each of you to be nice to someone new, to reach out to someone old, and make the world a little happier, a little more kind.