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I have driven many times past the Ethical Society but until today had not set foot in the building. The building is set low off the road, and has a copper-clad spire that rises well above the building. I was in need of some space to sit and ponder, so I stopped by, rang the bell, and the person in the building was kind enough to let me into the sanctuary.
The sanctuary has a very ordinary vinyl floor and movie-theater-like seating. The room hosts a tracker (mechanical action) pipe organ but I didn't go over to check it out; I'll save that for another visit. Inside the sanctuary, the framing under the ceiling reaches impossibly up through the building's spire, which is of interest below. The Ethical Society is not a religious institution. The woman who answered the door informed me of this when I asked if I could sit in the sanctuary. But the building and its people are evidently on a path "up".
Tomorrow is our 15th anniversary and I've been full of mixed feelings today, and needed a place to sort them out. I'm happy about our anniversary, but I know of two families in a great deal of physical and emotional pain right now, and their suffering tempers the observance of our anniversary.
In one family, a couple is thinking of splitting up and it's been a very painful thing. In the other family, a relatively young mother of two has an inoperable brain tumor. At an intellectual level it's simple to rationalize that these things happen all the time to people I don't know. But when you know the people who are suffering it's hard to put them out of your mind at a time when you should be happy and celebrating a joyous event.
In looking for a "sign" in and around the Ethical Society, I noticed that the remarkable roof, which you can see in the photo on the page I reference above, flattens out at the edges of the building. It has been sprinkling steadily today, and the rainfall on its own is insufficient to make anybody very wet. However, off this roof and through a spout that drains water from the roof onto shrubbery, there was a strong and steady stream of water.
The insignificant sprinkles took on added strength and meaning because the roof served to collect them and channel them toward some good. I'm very glad I stopped by.
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