Ode to a chapel (& her path).She was made by volunteer Latvian refugees who left their lives behind, having fled Soviet occupancy of their homeland. They created a sanctuary here, a place to hold Mass in their native tongue.She gave a canopy to over 50 years of masses held here. She covered us on our own wedding day as it rained through the ENTIRE ceremony.So many weddings and communions, masses, & dedications. It was here that the first LGBTQ wedding was held at camp – to be followed by so many more.This season was her last season with us. Her wood had given out, her braces had started to list. Every damn thing here is overly sentimental to us. We try to save & repair – salvage & restore -Until we cant anymore. We just erected a new altar canopy.Same footprint, new life. We try to pay homage to other fallen buildings, so we found 150 year old trusses from a Wisconsin barn to give new life to. These trusses will hold vines & future memories for what will happen beneath them.Then there is the challenge of the tree.The aisle everyone has walked for 60 years has an ancient tree dead in the center, blocking the path.For so many years, churchgoers (with the best of intentions) have suggested that we cut it down. To make it easier to walk around, fewer roots to trip on, fewer littering leaves to clean up- all true & sage advice.On our wedding day here 18 years ago, we had to duck under its cover of branches to push our way through. ( see picture here- I got a little hooked and the canopy almost ripped my veil off).But heres the thing. Weve come to realize that there will always be things blocking our path. We all have the choice to cut them down.Or embrace them & the challenges they pose. To walk – flow – around them and move on.We’re here for the latter.Were here to keep the things worth keeping: the things that bring us joy, comfort & cover.Accept those things that may temporarily block our path, and keep moving forward. We dont know how long we’ll be able to keep this place standing, but as long as we are, we will keep this altar- And this tree-standing with us.
October 31, 2022 • Published by Tereasa Surratt