Have you ever felt God?

This will be a bit of an atypical Driftyland post. I feel that this particular location deserves more of a serious tone.

I’ve always loved churches. I love the high ceilings, I love the quiet and the space. The flickering candles, and soft sounds from the organ. Everyone speaks in a hushed tone, perhaps in prayer, or perhaps to try to figure out where 18th Century Portuguese laborers would construct the bathroom.

(Ok, I’m done.)

The only other time I can honestly say I “felt” God was in Quebec. I was in seventh grade on a trip with my Girl Scout group. My favorite aunt had died that year, and I was still a little shaken from the experience.

It was the first time I knew what grief was.

There was a church we visited (and forgive me, I do not recall which one). As soon as the smell of the oil (what is that, anyway?) hit me, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. My little fourteen year old self got choked up, and a big, emotional sweep of love, gratitude, and calm came over me.

It was okay. Everything was going to be okay.

Until I arrived at Igreja do Carmo, I had forgotten about that experience.

As I walked up to the church (I had just departed the disappointing Livraria Lello), I had a million furious, swarming thoughts.

The next place I wanted to visit, what time the tile shop was going to be open until. Why people use tablets to take pictures, whether or not my parents knew where I was in the world. Where I could possibly buy sunscreen, why I always waited until the last minute to buy sunscreen, the last message that guy I liked sent me on Facebook messenger, whether or not he knew where I was in the world, whether or not I was going to write a post about this church, and –


When I opened the door, the same rush.

The same calm.

Then it all went silent.

I don’t remember how long I sat there. Two minutes? Twenty minutes? An hour.

But I walked out refreshed.

The sun seemed brighter, and the other tourists seemed kinder. I was back in the moment. Those calm, easy vibes kept the buzzing at bay for most of the day, and long into the evening, when I was back at my apartment.

Drifty Rank: 9/10 little flickers of magic.