Some notes about the story: I drew inspiration in writing The Faithful from the many Sunday mornings spent in a small town church as a child. My family (less my dad, he never went) always sat in the same pew, off to the left and in the back. My grandmother was always waiting for us. She probably sat in that same pew for decades, everyone in the church conceding it to be hers.
Typically bored out of my mind, much of my attention was focused on the large chandelier that hung in the middle of the room. I remember the huge dent in its copper bottom bowl that I speculated over and over again how it may have gotten there. Strange how it may have happened suspended so high above. Only now it occurred to me that I never thought to ask anyone. Perhaps I knew the true answer would ruin the mystery…
I came up with a lot of stories about that dent as a child. I also admit I did a lot of imagining of what would happen if it fell. Our family pew was safely out of range so I was free to gleefully fantasize. It did have a menacing spike at the bottom which I wondered if it would be able to pierce someone’s skull.
So, many years later, while I don’t remember a single sermon or any other words of wisdom, I can still see that chandelier in my mind’s eye, always from the same vantage from the back and left. I wasn’t trying to write a story about it; it just popped into my head. I also wrote another story a few months ago in which a chandelier plays a tragic role. Amazing what memories get caught in the subconscious…
Now I have my answer to all those past Sunday daydreams in my writing of The Faithful. It is much different than anything I came up with as a child as I believe I may have figured out what deep down philosophically intrigued me about in the first place.
I wonder if the old chandelier still hangs. I stopped going to church altogether directly after confirmation. A few years ago, however, I was back in the church for my grandmother’s funeral, but I don’t remember noticing if the chandelier was still there or not… Of course I sat in different seats that day, and had a very different perspective.