“Are you here for the service?” she asked me.
Every Wednesday in the summer, Trinity hosts midday “Catch Your Breath” services, catering to Financial District workers on their lunch breaks. The signs outside—beneath the Episcopal flag and next to the rejuvenation posters—advertise the services in this way:
Take a break from the workday rush. Participate in a breathing exercise, enjoy some quiet time, and listen to a short teaching before tackling the rest of your day. Bring your lunch for a supportive midday interaction...
I became conscious that the woman across the room was staring at me. I’ve never been athletic, and neither my blazer nor my tie really lent to these stretching exercises—but then neither did her pantsuit. Maybe I was conspicuous for being the only person in the room under forty, and the only man.
“Since we have a gentleman among us, I’ll be a little more modest,” she said as she draped the scarf over her legs. “Okay, now let’s just focus on our breath. As you breathe, focus on that breath and when your mind wanders—as it will do—get back to the breath. We’ll do this for about three minutes. Notice your breath. Notice your nose, your lungs.”
Please read the whole thing. It sounds like it may have been a chance to contemplate the eternal in the middle of a very secular setting [Wall Street], perhaps even to receive the sacrament and know reconciliation as a balm to one's spirit.
You'd be wrong, of course.