Saturday 28 June 2014

#75 The journey continues

Collapsing into a kneeling position on the cobbled concrete, I pulled my hands up to meet each other and said a few words of thanks, aloud, for the experience that I'd just had. I felt invigorated and filled with gratitude. Certainly not for the fact that I'd failed to do this ten seconds earlier, when the passing groups of people had been a few yards closer. 

I always felt self conscious praying in public. I wondered if I'd ever really be be comfortable with it. The busiest place I could think of was Oxford Street. On a Saturday. If I could get there and move myself to the side, so as not to obstruct the shoppers, I could kneel and pray. They'd see me doing it, this personal thing, in public but harmless and perfectly legal.

I already knew that this sort of behaviour would make me a better person, so what was stopping me? Fear, obviously. A fear of... being judged? Perhaps it was reasonable. People did judge those who practiced religion. What would the outcome be? Maybe I'd feel slightly more courageous for a second or two. Some passers by might see a person praying and reflect upon it briefly. Maybe they'd wonder to themselves whether this person was underprivileged or part of a cult. They might, for an instant, upon observing that the person's approach to religion was different from their own, if they had one. Then, almost inevitably, they'd reason that their approach worked best for them, or they'd decide that they didn't really care about it that much anyway and then they'd think about something else. 

Of course, I was just guessing about the outcome. What would happen to a person if they prayed aloud, on Oxford Street, for ten minutes? An hour? A day? Would they get interrupted? How many people would see it? How many people's thoughts would be impacted? Would a very small percentage of those people give some consideration to whether they had the courage to do it themselves?