Valentine’s Diversion

15 Feb

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day.  A day in truth I typically forget and don’t pay much attention to.  When I exited the underground into the heart of the city, I was greeted by the always impressive Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and a feisty (in a laid back Viennese sort of way) assortment of costumed workers selling tours in a wide selection of languages.  I turned the corner and noticed a few men selling brightly colored roses.  I paid them no mind and continued on my way, enjoying the sunshine and focused on navigating to my tourist destination for the day.

Ever the bad navigator, I walked in the wrong direction.  But perhaps not wrong after all.  I passed by an impressive building, doors open with a red carpet welcoming a steady collection of people.  I paused and looked hesitatantly, curious what was happening.  A kind man offered me a red envelope and then said something to me in German (which mostly I still don’t understand…)  “Ich spreche Englisch…” I offered.  Like many Viennese, he easily flipped the switch and changed his conversation to English.  “I have a Valentine letter for you from God” he said as he offered the red envelope in a friendly and gentle manner.  The building as it turns out is the home of the Archbishop and once a year he opens the doors… on Valentine’s day.  I was invited in for a spell to have some tea and rest a bit in the chapel if I like.  “Sure” I said.  Who am I to turn down a Valentine’s invitation from God.  So, gratefully, I accepted the letter and made my way inside.

I followed the red carpet elegantly escorting me into the courtyard with friendly yet reserved folks there to welcome me and others guests.  There were lit torches along the pathway that eventually led to the chapel.  At the entrance I was offered a sheet of paper to write down my prayers or intentions as well as some candles to light.  I made my way into the intimate space filled with gentle music being played and sung live from the first few rows.  I took a moment to pray and made and effort to hold back the tears and sobs that often want to come rolling out when I enter a place of prayer.  I did my best to lay down my burdens for the day and took a moment to reflect surrounded by the quiet energy of the other visitors who seemed somewhat like me, a bit unsure but also enchanted by this unexpected diversion.

I brought my written intentions to the front of the chapel and dropped them into the bowl collecting them, lit my candles and selected a bible verse printed on strips of paper in a bowl to the right.  I took a glimpse at the verse thinking perhaps my A-2 level German had prepared me to understand just a bit…. but that was not the case.  Shortly after, I left with my bible verse and Valentine’s letter from God, both in German to be understood or translated at a later time I suppose.  But still, a gift nonetheless.

After that, I continued on my way.  I reworked my navigation, became clear I went (sort of) in the wrong direction, and shortly after arrived at my planned destination.  But still, appreciative of my unexpected Valentine’s diversion and grateful for the gentle reminder of love and the simple but generous act of a small collection of volunteers in the heart of Vienna.

Featured image, a burst of light through a narrow corridor in the heart of Vienna.

2 Responses to “Valentine’s Diversion”

  1. Cletus Billesbach 15/02/2015 at 19:33 #

    It sounds like you had an interesting Valentine’s Day. Only you can be lucky enough to go in the wrong direction and found a time to be with God. It was meant for you to go that way. A great day for you. We are suppose to get some snow later today, but doesn’t sound like much. We have been lucky so far this year. I feel sorry for the people living in the east. I am still going to yoga and have been going 4 times a week. We have gotten bigger and more classes. As you know your mother chose the Community Center for exercise. We have machines to use, get a massage, learn boxing, zumba. Our next senior luncheon is a tea dance with instructors. In the spring they will have other programs like biking, etc. We are lucky to have this going and so close. Take care and I always enjoy your post. A good writer. Millie

    • Nancie Teresa 15/02/2015 at 21:06 #

      Hi Millie, Good to hear from you! You are lucky to have so much going on at the wellness center! How great that all of those new activities are there too! Yes I heard some snow may be coming your way. We recently had about a foot of snow here… and then it melted the next day! It’s always good to hear from you Millie. Thanks for writing. 😉

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