Every morning on my way to work, I drive by the silhouette of a cathedral as it is being built. The sky is just beginning to take on light when I am driving in to work, everyday, and when I make that left hand turn and go past the build site, it really is quite picturesque as I take it all in. A couple of years ago, there used to be a small brick building there, but eventually, the Catholic Church began to develop the land (ie; tear down the small brick building) to erect this giant cathedral.
I have to admit that, at first, I was not impressed. There were piles of dirt everywhere. Now, the child in me wanted to jump on those piles, and roll down, or play king of the mountain, make mud pies, build a dirt fort...but that's about as far as my admiration went. I could not understand why tearing down a perfectly good building was necessary, but I was not aware of the plans at that time. It was not note-worthy. It was not aesthetically pleasing. When they poured the concrete, I yawned.
Then one morning, I was driving past and I began to see these iron "I" bars begin to reach up for the sky. There were cranes, and workers, and suddenly...life. And, to my surprise, in the early morning breaking dawn, it was alive! I have now become fascinated to see the progress every day, so much so that on Wednesdays I bring my son over, and we get out of the car and walk over to the edge of the work zone to get a closer look. He is not as fascinated with the building. He loves the cranes and other equipment. I, however, am fascinated with the "bones" of the building.
There was first the middle section, and then an offshoot wing. The support beams began to connect the other beams, and I saw the sanctuary begin to take shape. Eventually, there was an offshoot to one side, and I thought that was all there was to it. But I soon realized that what I thought was just one wing was actually a cross wing. I learned this quite by accident, one day, on the way home! As I soon learned that I could see this building taking place from another angle, on a different road, I began to appreciate that I didn't quite have it all envisioned. Perspective taught me that what I saw on one side looked differently from another. WOW!
Then, a rounded dome began to take shape, apart from the building itself. Will this be hauled up by the crane once it's completed? I don't know. I am dying to know! Recently, a small shaft with a smaller domed shape went up near the entrance. Is this a bell tower? Will it stay where it is, or cap off the dome? I don't know! I am dying to know! All I do know is that I just learned yesterday that I can see that small bell tower (that's what I am calling it!!) dome from S. Wilmington St. when I cross over the bridge going back into downtown Raleigh...yet another perspective!
I realize that this may not be as fascinating to some of you. However, I think to myself that we are all like that cathedral. We start out with the bare bones, and no one knows, in the end, how we will turn out. How it is all put together. If we stuff ourselves with cheap materials, will we crumble during bad weather...say, a bad day? How will we reflect when others see us, from our various perspectives? We are so like that building in so many ways, from what we are made of, to what materials we use, and who we allow to work on the job.
I think to myself that I will be a little disappointed once all the skeleton is done, and the walls begin to close out the light of the dawn as it shines through it in the early morning. I think that when it is done, I will find myself visiting it, and going inside, hoping to find the skeleton, again. Hoping to see the bare bones of it all. To see how we all begin, again. To see rebirth. Because, for whatever reason...on a daily basis, the rising of this cathedral calls me to momentarily take stock of myself.
When I was younger, I used to love picking up Reader's Digest. Now, you might say, "Of course you did...you're a librarian!", but if you've read any of my earlier posts, you would know that I didn't plan to be a librarian when I was younger. I just happened upon it, like a good book. (hehehehe) Now, I DID like the stories that could be found in each edition, and I do love to read. However, the thing I got really geeky about in each Reader's Digest was....wait for it....
Yes, I would race to the page where there would be a listing of words with 3 possible definitions, or meanings, of each word. I loved this, because it was a test of my knowledge. Was I smarter than the editors of Reader's Digest? Could I guess the meaning of words I was unfamiliar with by comparing the unknown word with other words that sounded similar? How high could I score? It was always a head rush to beat the page!!
I know, I know...signs of future librarian job skills, and I didn't even recognize it!!! LOL
At the same time, I would also try very hard to get to the Living section of our newspaper, because I LOVED doing the crossword puzzle. It was important to get to it as quickly as possible, because I was in fact racing my mother to get to fill it in. It was a dance we danced...who could get there first, could she finish it, and if not, could I?
There is a lot of power in words, and in knowing what words mean. I often tell people who use certain words that they really need to make sure they understand the meaning of the word before they make use of it. We all are guilty of using words whose definition we have little knowledge about. I still find that I pull out the Reader's Digest, and the Living crossword puzzle to this day, because I am just fascinated by words and their meaning. In that same tradition, I have begun placing crossword puzzles on a white board in my Library Media Center for anyone who might be interested in it to solve. So, go ahead, come on by, and explore the power of words!
Jill D. Ray
As Big Al would say, The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.