I ran through the grounds. I was late. The sole mournful bell calling was weakening coming to its end. I ran past the pigs, sheep, and goats. Chickens and geese looked on. I opened the huge heavy oak panelled doors of Quarr Abbey and walked into a different world quietly creaking the door closed.
I felt the beauty in the coolness, shafts of sunlight spilt through the high windows accentuated by the incense rising slowly to the heights of the abbey. Monks suitable attired in monk gear! Sang their Gregorian chants filling the acoustics of the abbey. The Abbot hardly visible through the ever-increasing incense held the Gospel high above his head. This was dramatic stuff I felt drawn further and further into the mystery of God.
But the drama was only just beginning. There was a community of late comers me included sat near the back. The door creaked and in walked a family. Mum Dad and four impeccably dressed kinds. The two older girls knew the drill – genuflected admirably. The two younger 1 and 2-year olds new the drill too and proceeded in the row in front of me to add to the Gregorian chants with ever increasing volume "da-da... da-da..." and scraping of chairs, amazing resounding raspberries. No amount of cajoling could keep these kids quiet – it was great!
Here’s the drama. The elderly couple sat in front of this lovely family quite obviously didn’t like the kids re-mix of Domine, vivifica me Huffs turned into puffs then into tuts. The tension grew with every minute. The back of his elderly - and to be frank very hairy - neck communicated friction and hostility to this intrusion of noise. Veiled smiles of understanding from his wife communicating for "goodness sake take them out!"
I’m glad they didn’t. Giving the peace to each other wouldn’t have been the same. The elderly couple refused to turn around –their loss was my rows gain. These beautiful children stretched their hands out and with love in their eyes passed peace. I felt for that elderly couple. I imagined their lunch time conversation – they missed out on something of the mystery of God.
The end came too soon. I was back with my family drinking tea in the grounds. I will going back.