fat tuesday + uppsala’s grand cathedral: time to move forward

there is a huge cathedral in uppsala. it’s twin spires reach high to the heavens, and can be seen from almost anywhere both in + out of the city. they let me know where i am at all times.i like to think of them as my own little landmark. the old, huge cathedral has been around for a long time, since the 1400s, no doubt a guiding light of sorts for many people throughout the hundreds of years.

today, as i walked downtown, headed in the direction of the cathedral, i suddenly felt the urge to go inside. “yes. that’s exactly what you needed today”, my soul said to me. so, i detoured just a tiny bit and approached the grand cathedral, saying hello to a beggar sitting on the steps, as i pulled open the giant wooden door. as soon i was inside, and i hadn’t even seen the great sanctuary yet, i felt a tear fall down my cheek.


i suddenly remembered that it was fat tuesday/mardis gras, the day before ash wednesday, the beginning of lent. and, lent has always been one of my favorite seasons because it’s all about a journey.

as i stepped from the entryway into the great, huge, majestic space, i immediately realized that one year ago i was doing the exact same thing, only in asheville. yes, one year ago, i began my 40 days in a cathedral challenge. last year from ash wednesday until easter i visited the basilica in asheville, spending time in the quiet every single day, seeing how that time would transform me.

today, i couldn’t believe that i just happened to feel the desire to enter the cathedral in uppsala today, of all days. i’ve been in it before, but not since we moved here. i haven’t even wanted to enter it, just because i’d already been inside. but, today, i was drawn there.

and, oh how i needed it. though i only stayed for a very few short minutes. long enough to sit in a pew and let the power and solitude of this place surround and envelop me. i breathed + cried. i don’t know exactly why. but, sometimes you just gotta cry. i couldn’t even form any concrete thoughts of any sorts. i wan’t sure what i was feeling. i only had one question going through my brain… what now?


i’m thinking that my lenten journey this year is going to be something i have never experienced before. i do not at all feel the desire to go inward and reflect in the ways that i usually do. i feel that i have processed and reflected constantly for over a year now. i do, however, feel called to a more outward expression. that my reflecting and processing is over. something inside me is telling me that it is time to turn around and face what is ahead.  and i have no freaking idea what that is. but, i know that i feel called to be more active. it’s time to leave the past behind.

and while i feel all mixed up inside today, i also have achieved a sense of balance over the past year and a half that is deep within me. something that stays calm + steady, even when the surface of everything is shaky + confused. yes. it’s time to turn. time to look forward and move forward. time to take the first step – though i have no clue where i am headed. and i’m terrified, to be honest. still, i know that it is the right thing to do.

so, i’ll not be spending 40 days in this cathedral. at least, not right now. instead, i’ll be spending this lenten journey on the streets. what that means, i don’t know. stay tuned, if you wish. i’ll keep blogging about my continuing journey. and, by the way, i love having you as companions.

onwards + upwards xoxo

2 thoughts on “fat tuesday + uppsala’s grand cathedral: time to move forward

  1. Powerful. That is so amazing that you were drawn into the cathedral on just this specific day. And I know how it feels to just need to cry without understanding why… been there! I am excited to hear how your outward journey plays out now that you’ve moved (geographically and spiritually) to a new place. As you’ve said many times and I also believe, our inward journeys should prepare us for how we’re going to live our lives on the outside, and it’s truly exciting to see where that will take you now that you’ve been able to reflect SO much and get such a great sense of who you are and who you’re meant to be.

    1. It was so cool when I realized that I had been drawn in. And, I must say, it feels weird to not have any set Lenten discipline/project planned, but I’m certain that it is right. I peeked back into the cathedral yesterday, and I feel certain I’ll visit it often at random times, as it simply gives me such a sense of awe and purpose. As for how everything plays out, I have no idea! We shall see! Thanks for always following along and reflecting with me. xo

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