Nanima: Cathedral

Chapter 11: Thief or Saint

It was almost dark as Maliyan entered the large country town, at the bottom of the mountain descent, on her way back home from High. She still had three more hours’ drive but, on seeing the lights shining through the magnificent stained-glass windows of the cathedral, she decided to stop. At one stage, this town had a lot of money and the cathedral was built as a grand, rural monument. It was truly majestic, commanding its own small hill, with its face towards the mountain cliffs.

Mass was finished but the woman at the door said that it would be alright for Maliyan to sit somewhere while they packed up. Maliyan headed straight for the back row, as far away from the straggling congregation as possible. Her footsteps echoed on the long walk to the end of the cathedral. These days, churches are generally closed, except for services, so she was glad to have the opportunity to be inside. 

There’s something wrong with that, thought Maliyan. These powerful places of accumulated prayer have healing energy in the air and, here they are, all locked up with no one being able to benefit.

Although she understood the security issues, she felt sure that the churches, themselves, must be sad not to use the many years of prayer, heartbreak, laughter, love, and every other human emotion that is shared with the Divine.

There must be another solution, thought Maliyan. If people could see the energy, they would not lock the buildings up. But they cannot see it and, even if they could, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Whenever she had a chance, Maliyan went into empty churches of any denomination. If someone was about, they generally looked at her as if she must be quite saintly. It made Maliyan smile. 

In reality, she thought, I am sneaking in, like a thief, to steal some energy. It’s a matter of perspective.

Chapter 12: Charity

As soon as Maliyan sat down and looked high above her at the magnificent, wood ceiling and far in front of her at the pristine, marble altar, tears came to her eyes. They were tears brought on by the majesty and pure beauty of it all. She put her hands over her face so that no one could see her. That way, she was free to use the moment in whatever healing way the energy wished to be used, rather than having to worry about other people’s reaction to her. 

Predictably, when Maliyan was leaving, the woman at the door, who had probably been watching her, politely tried to engage her in a conversation. The woman, no doubt, assumed that there was something upsetting Maliyan. I guess that’s what happens when you cover your face with your hands and sit on your own, far away from everyone else. 

The woman was one of those lovely senior ladies who – having raised her children, been blessed with grandchildren, and graced with a long, positive marriage – dedicates most of her free time to charity work. Such women feel grateful that they have got thus far without some catastrophe, such as a child dying, a traumatic marriage breakup, the loss of a loved family home, or a debilitating illness. Or, if they have had to endure one or more of these sorrows, they are the sort of person to pick themselves up and make something out of the mess; so much so that other people, down the track, wouldn’t know about their past dramas. They always have a gracious and ready smile, wear sensible shoes, and have a cardigan and umbrella on hand in case the weather turns bad. Bless them – where would our communities be without them. They hold the fibre of families, churches, and every imaginable community project together.

The only thing was that Maliyan didn’t need her charity. 

“With all that’s wrong in the world,” said the woman tentatively, “it can feel like we have the weight of it on our shoulders.”

She said it as a question and was clearly giving Maliyan the chance to express her sorrow at whatever was supposedly causing her grief. For a moment, Maliyan thought about making something up as she didn’t want the woman to feel that she had failed in her responsibilities, but that would have been ridiculous. Somehow, it didn’t seem appropriate to say, I was overcome with the beauty of the place. It would have sounded a little pretentious. She decided not to answer her directly and, instead, pointed around at the cathedral.

“It’s so…” she started.

However, before she got any more words out, the tears returned. Deciding that this would only further confuse the kind woman, she stopped talking. Whereupon, the woman’s expression changed from motherly duty to interest and curiosity.

Chapter 13: Masters

“Where do you come from, dear?” asked the woman.

“Nanima,” answered Maliyan.

“Oh, really?” said the woman. “My nephew and his family have just moved to Nanima. He is in charge of a two-year project in Thubbo. However, the housing shortage there means that they have ended up renting in Nanima which is much prettier, anyway. My nephew and his wife, Katarina (or Kat as we call her), have a ten-year-old boy. They would be in their late forties now. They didn’t have him until later on because Kat had a successful career as a dancer and wanted to retire before child raising. She said that it wasn’t essential to do so and that other dancing mums don’t but, for her, parenting came first – by a long shot.” 

“What sort of dancing?” asked Maliyan who, for some reason, felt something ignite in her.

“Ballroom dancing,” said the woman. “Kat was a latin dancer. Now that the boy is older, she is going to start a ballroom dancing school in Nanima, at least, for the duration of their stay.” 

“Is it just for children?” asked Maliyan who was becoming far more excited about the dance school than she would have expected.

“No,” said the woman. “Ballroom dancing is one of those wonderful dance forms that has an active place for all age groups. I have friends who do competitive ballroom dancing and they are in their seventies. Masters 4, I think they call it.”

“Does being in Masters make you are a master,” asked Maliyan, “or does it just mean you are old?”

The woman laughed. Pointing to a flashing sign, next door, which read, Cathedral Motel, she said, “It’s getting late, dear. The motel sits under the wing of this cathedral. You couldn’t get a safer place to rest your head for the night.”

***

Maliyan stood under the motel shower for a long time. The little bathroom was clean and the shower had a strong flow of hot water. 

How healing water is, thought Maliyan. That’s because it is one of the main elements of life. In fact, we are more than 70% water which is why we respond to it so readily. It doesn’t just clean our body. That’s the least of it. It cleans our etheric body. That’s why almost everyone feels better after a relaxing shower. 

Although Maliyan understood the problem of long-haired women who didn’t want to dry their mass of hair every night, she felt that they didn’t understand what they were missing out on by not having a daily stream of water directly on the crown of their heads which is the main energy intake location of the body.

Hair or health? thought Maliyan. That’s not even a choice.

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