You know that sometimes I go on trips to get me the heck out of Walter Reed during the week. I saw that there was one going to the Washington National Cathedral this past Wed and I had to go. I have already been there several times, but the place is just so darn beautiful. Every time I go I find a different aspect that is just calling out to me. This time it was the light coming through the stained glass windows. The past few times I have gone in the summer, but this time it is winter. And the sun lays low in the sky for most of the day. From the time we got there until we left, the light shined through the stained glass and painted a heavenly and just beautiful splash of color on the walls and floors. I just could not keep my lens off of the resulting splendor.
We started off the trip by having lunch at this place called Booeymonger. I ordered a chicken cheese steak with light mayo. After a few minutes, they yelled that a cheese steak with light mayo was ready. Well, I didn’t order that, so I waited. Next they got on the sound system and started yelling. Since people that ordered food after me got theirs, I figured they screwed up and I’d better go up there. Sure enough, my name was on the receipt for the cheese steak (why didn’t they just call my name?). I clarified that I wanted a chicken cheese steak and I sat down. But then they kept calling out the cheese steak! I started to wonder if they were ever going to make it right and they did. They called me up and I got my sandwich. But then they called out for the cheese steak with light mayo again… sigh. The sandwich was pretty good and then we headed over to the Cathedral.
We were in a big tour bus and the driver was concerned that he was going to have to park on the street like usual, but they just finished constructing an underground bus lobby, as they call it, with enough room for about 15 buses. You get off the bus and get right on an elevator. They also completed a new underground parking garage. They claim that the Cathedral, which started construction in 1907 and has been continuously under construction, was finally completed in 2007. 100 years of construction!
As I said before, the Cathedral was as beautiful as always. This trip was organized by the Walter Reed Pastoral staff and so we attended a short service (the Cathedral is Episcopal). It was very similar a Catholic service, but easier to understand and follow, IMO. Then we were treated to an explanation of how the huge pipe organ there works and a recital. I wandered around close to that area and snapped some pictures. When the recital began, I wandered away but was still able to hear the organ as its rich sound filled every cavity of the Cathedral. It was quite amazing! After that, a docent gave us a tour of some of the features of the Cathedral and told us some of the history behind it. She focused a bit on the War Chapel and then took us around the Cathedral. After that, it was time for tea!
We made our way up to the 7th floor observation deck and enjoyed some very nice tea along with small sandwiches and other sweet goodies. We really had a great time. I took quite a few photos of everything and they can be found here on Flickr: Washington National Cathedral.
Moving on, I have a few birthdays programmed in my Outlook and I noticed that today was my friend Yoli’s birthday (Jan 31). On my drive to run an errand, I decided to give her a call to wish her a great day. Yoli and I met in the 8th grade, back in 1988, so I have known her for 20 years. She is one of a few people that I still have kept in touch with after all these years. Throughout High School I remember Yoli was one of the only people our age that had a job. She worked at a Christian Bookstore. At the time, I thought that was neat. I also remember how she always seemed to glow... She just has this happiness that made an impression on me and I secretly yearned for. We never talked about it and in 1993 we graduated. I moved to Texas and I stayed in touch with Yoli. One time when I went back to LA to visit, Yoli invited me to church with her. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to go. I remember asking her questions about church and it was then that I realized what it was that she had that I was looking for, the Lord. I mean, I knew who God was, but I didn’t really understand Christianity that well. Shortly after I got back home to Texas, I got a package in the mail. Yoli sent me a bible… my first and very own bible. I still have it.
We didn’t talk that much more for a few years but we did still keep in touch. I don’t remember what led to it, but she and her husband Matt and daughter Kailee came to visit Holly and I during the summer of 2005 when we lived in Arlington, VA. And then Matt was in town in Nov 2006 and came to visit us again for dinner. We had a great time and we have stayed in touch since then. Fast forward to today… Yoli shared with me that she was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer about two weeks ago. They are going to treat her with chemo first to see what happens and then most likely perform a mastectomy and go forward from there. She had her first Chemo treatment this past Monday. I don’t want to get into all the details because you can find them here at Yoli’s blog. She’s a sweet gal and I know that she’s going to pull through this. Being a cancer patient myself, I was able to understand some of the feelings she’s having, so that was nice. I prayed for her on the phone and offered to lend my ear to them whenever they might need it. It just breaks my heart to know that they are now going through this trial. Yoli was the first person to put me on the right path to accepting Christ into my life… thank you so much Yoli. I am asking all of you to please pray for Yoli and her family while they go through all of this.