It was an undying dream with no obvious foundation.
I first articulated it in 1977 when some overseas cousins visited and we did the tourist trail. As we drove past a clearly-disused church, my cousin explained that his mother had always wanted to do this. My gut reaction was: ‘Yes, me too!’ (This was my first sign that I was on the right track.)
A couple of next years later, a large Victorian church became available in a nearby town. But the restrictions on it and its position made it nearly impossible to convert, so sadly I let it pass.
Life moved on. In 1988 I changed jobs and moved to a new area. I befriended a young man who worked for the administrative body for the Church of England. To my amazement, he was looking after redundant churches. (This was my second signal to be patient.) He sent me the monthly lists but nothing ever quite fitted but I learnt heaps from that exposure which was to stand me in good stead later on.
By1999 I had retired and it was time to move on again. I set off down the l-o-n-g path to finding where I wanted to be. I visited virtually all the cities on the south coast of England, and multiple estate agents in each. This went on for months. But I never found my dream. Every weekend I would scour the national papers. Usually nothing. Until…
A small ad for a chapel conversion in a village which was a good 100 miles away. I rang for a brochure. The outside of the building was red-brick Victorian with strong arched windows. I couldn’t believe my luck. It was in the early stages of conversion which was a plus because I could alter the inside plans to suit my needs. Immediately I made an offer. The deal was done and deposit paid within a week of seeing the original ad. I moved in late-2000.
There were two messages in this story: firstly, that manifesting will happen even if it takes 25 years or more. And there will be a very good reason for this long ‘delay’.
In my case, the reason was that the community I joined by buying the chapel, turned out to be the best I have ever lived in. We looked out for each other, it was friendly, supportive, and we socialised endlessly. Some of us even worked together for a while. I now know that I was never meant to have a church/chapel before this because if I had, I would never have met this amazing group of people.
Now in 2017, I also know that my fascination for living in a converted church derives from many past lives spent in European monasteries.