The church in my hometown was a very central part of my childhood. My mother began working as the secretary there once my younger brother started to go to kindergarten. As my parents certainly didn't want me staying at home unsupervised, snow days and summers often found me wandering around the church while my mother did her work. It was a great building to run around in, as there were crawl spaces I shouldn't have been in, balconies to throw paper airplanes off of, and a big kitchen with industrial dishwashers and pressure sprayers. I became well versed in the art of rough house-of-God-ing.
There were often times when my mother would have to work later than expected, and I found myself walking around this darkened church for hours. I would hide underneath the pews at the back of the church, and listen as a large fan forty feet up in the ceiling circulated the air. During those moments, lying on the cold tile floor, it seemed as if God was close enough for me to touch. That the entire universe was open to my understanding if I could just concentrate harder on the white noise and darkness that surrounded me.
Now, during my commute on a train hundreds of miles away, these moments come back and kick me in the pants. I can still feel the power of those moments, but now my atheist mind detaches their spirituality. I know that these were moments of peace and meditation for a very confused and hyperactive child. And while god may not be a part of the equation for me any longer, I still long to feel the cold floor on my cheek, and listen to the heavenly noise.