My first surprise—of many—was to find myself in the church’s basement; brightly-lit, its walls and brick archways framing the alter painted a bright, sunflower yellow, its pristine statuary equally glowing as if lit from within.
My second: In front of a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I found rows of red plastic candles with a metal slot in front of each one. I tried inserting a quarter into one slot. It worked! So I did that again with a second candle. And tempered my disappointment with my first opening: this is how millions of people all over the world light candles before holding someone in the Light. I can, too.
Third surprise: I was not to be ignored. At certain moments the other worshipers would turn around, smile, extend their hands in my direction. Such lovingkindness made me teary; warmed me. Though we speak different languages, though our hands did not touch, as in namaste, something of Spirit within them connected with something of Spirit within me.
Last surprise I’ll note: The priest’s words or song lyrics sung to guitar accompaniment were not a steady, unintelligible stream. Certain words or phases asserted themselves. When the priest began The Lord’s Prayer, for example, from the rhythm and repetition of certain words I knew what he was saying. And heard that prayer with different ears. Repeated palabras made me wonder if maybe he was reading John 1 through 5?
But did it matter if I was right or wrong? No. I exercised new heart muscles and although my soul heard Good News in Spanish, it understood.