Friday, August 2, 2013

San Francisco Diary: Soul Food

Yesterday started off slowly. We stayed in our room and had a leisurely morning, writing in our journals and blogging. I am very pleased that Mark has started a new blog. He published his first post last night about unconditional love, and I'd encourage anyone who reads this blog to hop on over to his.  He really is a beautiful writer, but I have only seen glimpses of his thoughts in prose the times he has shared something he has written in his journal. I look forward to reading what he decides to share on his blog.

Late in the morning, we walked down to Brenda's French Soul Food Restaurant. Mark happened to see this place on Yelp, and it turned out to be a fantastic find.

The menu was New Orleans' inspired, and after reading about the place on their website, I learned that the owner was raised in a suburb of that city and that she and her wife opened the restaurant about six years ago.

Mark decided to have a shrimp and goat cheese omelette with tomato-bacon relish, and I opted for one of the specials, a pulled-pork po boy. Both were delicious.

But the real treat was another special that we shared: one sweet potato pancake with butter pecan sauce.  It rivaled the gingerbread pancake that we had had the day before at Zazie. So, so, so good.

On our walk down to Brenda's, we had noticed a tall dramatic structure up one of the streets we crossed, so after lunch, we walked up there. We had no idea what the building was until we got up close to it. It turned out to be the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption.

I have never seen a cathedral that is so modern. The vaulting space inside the building was spectacular. The lead photo, above, is of the "ceiling" of the church. I walked around and took pictures while Mark sat and listened to an organist play something by Bach.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about a friend who is lighting candles for Mark in churches across Europe. She, like me, was raised Catholic but has not practiced her religion for years. It's not as though she believes that there is some metaphysical power in lighting candles; it is a remembrance. As I wrote, I view lighting candles as similar to hanging Buddhist prayer flags that spread prayers as the wind blows the flags. And I honor the sacred space that exists in churches such as Saint Mary of the Assumption - not because the space has been consecrated by a priest, bishop or cardinal, but because it has been consecrated by the faith, hope and prayers that have been offered in such places. 

So, for the first time in my life (that I can recall), inspired by our friend Michelle, this former Catholic /Methodist/Episcopalian/Mormon sojourner lit a candle in a Catholic church in remembrance of Mark and what he is experiencing as a result of his prostate cancer. And Mark lit a candle as well - which I'm sure was a first for him, too.

This unforeseen side trip to this sacred place provided us with another kind of "soul food" - that for the spirit and the heart. I plan to make it the first of many such visits to places such as Saint Mary's. Even though I now consider myself more Buddhist than anything, I feel - at least for now - that I can learn and benefit from what I experience inside such sacred places.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful experiences. Something I never told you was my pilgrimage in France in 2006: I went into every Catholic church I saw to light a candle for mom.