We decided to follow the Freedom Trail, which led us to King’s Chapel. I’m sure I’d heard of the church before but it wasn’t strong in my memory. We were on a scavenger hunt and already got the answer from this location; we could have easily moved on to the next clue. Thankfully my friend wanted to go inside and I followed. Right away I noticed the box seats. Instead of rows of pews there were boxes, each with their own door and number. Families would buy or rent their box – that’s one way to make sure money is coming in! It was a bit odd seeing that the seats within the boxes faced both the chancel area and the back door. I suspect I know where the children sat!
Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, George Washington, Louisa May Alcott, John Hancock. They were all in this building. They all stood where I stood. At one point I had my hand resting on a pew box and I thought – who else has put their hand here? I felt like I had been pulled back into the past while also being firmly rooted in the present. It’s an odd feeling. Maybe one of those “thin places” the Celtics Mystics refer to. And not just these famous people whose names have lived on, but also all the others, probably like me, who some remember but after time most forget – they were standing here too.
The next day we did a tour of Fenway Park. We sat in the oldest seats in the history of baseball and again I began to wonder – who else sat here in this seat? We got to tour the visiting team locker room. The person standing next to me wondered aloud – just think of all the players that were in this room, that walked this path. Yes! Let’s think of them. So I had him name off all the famous players he thought had been in this ballpark. It’s good to remember.
I do this while standing in front of artwork – who else stood looking at this painting? I felt it deeply in Italy – the Coliseum, the cobblestone streets, the leaning tower. However, I don’t think you need to leave the country or visit a famous spot to experience this. A walk down the street will do.
I value these connections to the past. It reminds me that I’m not alone, that I’m not the first one to follow this path or feel this way. I won’t be the last either. I didn’t always enjoy history. I think I needed to create some history in my own life before I understood it’s importance – the wisdom it creates. Just like the liturgy, the hymns, the Lord’s Prayer – I wonder who else sang this tune or said these words. I wonder who else was searching for an answer and didn’t know where else to turn. I wonder who else felt tired and worn out, who needed a break. I wonder who else felt alone, like the first person to ever feel this way. Connecting myself to the past – through a scavenger hunt or a ballpark tour or an ancient prayer – I discover that I’m not alone, and never will be.