Inside I was greeted with the familiar hush of reverence, as I laid my eyes upon one of the simplest yet beautiful sanctuaries I have ever seen. It was a Christian site, evident by the symbols of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The pews, podium and alter were all made out of Cedar wood; which was appropriate considering we were on a Cedar reserve. The pews were beautifully simple; smoothed and stained with raw wood as the front two legs. Because words escape me to correctly describe it, a picture of the alter is below…
As I sat in the second pew on the left, I breathed in the lingering smell of stone and Cedar with deep breaths. I knew instantly that this was a place I wanted to remember. Caught up in the moment, even with my friends around, I suddenly felt the urge to bow my head in silent prayer. Perhaps it was the Cedars; perhaps it was the mountains; perhaps it was the atmosphere in general this small sanctuary cultivated within itself or perhaps it was the realization of the fact that we were 6 young people on an experience of a lifetime.
Whatever it was, it was beautiful and it was powerful and it brought all of us together at once.
The silence was deafening as I meditated to the soft beat of my own heart, and in the back of my mind, I could hear the other 5 hearts in the room beating to the same, quiet rhythm. I was at ultimate peace for the first time in a very long time.
This moment and the conversations between us all that happened immediately afterward, has sparked my interest in being spiritual again. Though I do not identify with any religion because I am tolerant and considerate of all, I do worship and pray to the One, the overarching, the only almighty God. Even my readings of the Qur’an these past weeks have stirred up a spiritual upheaval within me that I’ve never felt before. I think God meant for us, especially myself, to find this small, beautiful sanctuary. Even as I write this in my cold dorm room, hours later; I still manage to drift into a peaceful trance with a heaviness behind my eyes just thinking about that small, simple place in the middle of the Lebanese mountains.
Though fleeting, I will always remember that moment.