Do you have a side to you that no one sees?
Do you have a side to you that no one sees? Until they do and then it surprises them?
That phrase “still waters run deep” has always bugged me because in many ways it’s true.
While I like to think I am transparent that what you see is what you get it isn’t. On the surface I appear a calm, confident, quiet, wouldn’t say boo to a goose person. (I like clichés!)
But I have a rebellious streak that’s like an iron rod through my core. It is an integral part of who I am and makes me not just stubborn but often unable to toe the line, to do what others easily do, to follow someone else’s advice without question trusting that it will work for me as it has for them. I have a profound urge to understand the why, what and how and until I do I remain resolute in not taking that first step.
As a child I was fearful but also curious. Brought up a Catholic we were warned against stepping inside the Protestant church; told that if we did we would be struck down by lightning or worse. That the Lord would be very displeased with us. I needed to find out what was inside that church. It was set away from the main town with a graveyard around it, a stone arch at its entrance. There were trees on either side of the path up to the church door which lent themselves well to hiding a little girl while she staked out the place, took note of any comings and goings, service times and from the newsletter pinned to the outside notice board any funerals that might be taking place.
One sunny afternoon when all was clear, I stepped out from behind my tree and walked tentatively towards the always open front door. I knew there was no one in there and from my observations that no one was likely to arrive in the next half hour or so. I gathered all my strength and courage and stepped over the threshold into the forbidden church.
It was beautiful. Smaller than our church, but older with arches and pillars, two separate naves with unfamiliar statues. The sun shone through the stained-glass windows creating a myriad of jewel like patterns on the floor. I was mesmerised. And strangely felt far safer here than I did in my own huge, cold mausoleum of a church where the rules and regulations sought to stifle my spirt.
For a year or two before we moved to another town, this small forbidden church became a refuge for me. A place I would come to be alone, to sit and think or admire the everchanging patterns on the floor, for even on dull days the sun still shone through those coloured windows.
I never understood why we were not allowed in that church so was always cautious against getting caught. Maybe someone else knew that I snuck in there as a little girl, not to pray but to let my imagination run riot, to escape the noise of siblings and friends, and sometimes to read but always alert in case someone might find me there. I was afraid but I followed my heart and found peace.