In 2000, I was lucky enough to spend six weeks in various parts of Europe. My travel buddy, now answering to the name “husband,” was confused by the fact that, while I’ve never been religious in a traditional sense, I love cathedrals. Nothing less than 100 years old, mind. If it doesn’t have stained glass, flagstones, and flying buttresses, it doesn’t interest me.
My fascination with churches has nothing to do with my personal faith. I’m the type of person more likely to find holiness in mountains and oceans than anything constructed by man. It’s not my own faith that draws me to these structures – it’s the faith of others.
As anyone who’s read Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth knows, a cathedral takes years, decades, in some cases generations to construct. It takes the cooperation and labour of hundreds or thousands of people, and the dedication of incredible monetary resources. None of which would be possible without complete and utter devotion to an idea. And whatever your personal perspective on that idea, its result, a cathedral, a place of light and air and beauty, is worthy of reverence.
I feel the same way in a cathedral as I feel each October, during the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure.
There’s something incredibly powerful about walking through the streets, surrounded by thousands of strangers united by a common goal. Something about the “I’m running for” signs, pinned to shirts and bearing the names of loved ones, that is utterly heartbreaking and yet profoundly hopeful. Something beautiful. Something holy.
It’s a matter of faith. Faith that, as we did with the Ice Bucket Challenge, we can come together to make a difference.
I’m running for my mother-in-law and my grandmother. Has your family been affected by breast cancer? Do you take part in a fundraiser like Run for the Cure? Share your stories in the comments.