The Third Row from the Front


The church was dark and cold, the early dawn tried its best to light the interior but thick black shadows cut through the dim light, like doors to another frigid pitch black place. The day’s warmth also tried its best to sneak in through drafty doors and windows, it would soon be a lovely summer’s day but the stone walls and columns of the church were always cold to the touch; a cooling reprieve from the heat outside.

He sat in the third row from the front, next to the isle. The atmosphere gently calmed his worries and gave the isolation he needed first thing in the morning. He was always here in this exact spot, an hour or so before dawn. Slowly and clearly whispering his prayers into the deepest shadows, almost as if into space itself where a God might hear them and listen to this one quiet voice.

He finished his prayers with a slow sigh, his breath blowing away his words and leaving him silent and calm. Clearing his mind he listened.

Half an hour passed and still he listened. His quiet meditation mentally washing the noise and clamour of the previous day from his mind so a new clear headed man could emerge full of belief and hope for the coming day. This was his ritual, head bowed listening intently. The one thing he listened for was still elusive, not since he was a young man had he heard that voice. This morning like every other he longed to hear it again.

A warm glow lit the interior of the church, he felt it washing away the chill, saw the glow through his closed eyes growing in intensity over the next few seconds. He lifted his head, the listening was done and he became more aware of the change in his surroundings. He opened his eyes and squinted into the bright light. Slowly a smile crept across his face, eyes twinkled with happiness he stood up arms open as if to greet an old friend.

For a moment he stood stretching and revelling in the suns warmth. That’s why this spot in the church was his favourite; it was where the suns first rays fell as it shone through the ornate stained glass window. Now invigorated and ready to face another day he strode to the doors and threw them open to bathe in the fresh morning air and suns warmth. Despite the hardship this day like many others would bring he smiled and strode out to face it.

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