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Anu Menon

Abstract Inspirational


4.4  

Anu Menon

Abstract Inspirational


Benjamin's Church

Benjamin's Church

5 mins 73 5 mins 73

Jim came across a lovely church in Barcelona while browsing through travel websites. He is an avid traveler who enjoys visiting new places in his spare time. Have you ever been drawn to an unfamiliar location and been obsessed with learning more about it, only to discover that the location has captured your attention more than what you're intended to do in a day? This is exactly what Jim is experiencing. He purchased tickets to view the amazing attraction in Barcelona. The fact that this church was built by one man using recycled materials prompted him to leave.


When Jim arrived in Barcelona, he decided to pay a visit to the 'Church from Junk,' as it is known locally. Plastic buckets, wood, plastic tubes, wires, fragments of iron, and distorted bricks are used to make the chapel. The majority of the construction materials and tools are recycled. The main entrance is accessed through a lengthy mosaic staircase. Old petrol drums are used to build the columns, the window arches contain tire marks, bicycle wheels are utilized as pulleys, storks have nested on top of each of the four towers, and extra cement is used to ensure the building's stability. Because the chapel is close to the airport, the sound of flying planes may be heard. The interior of the church is half the size of a football field when Jim walked in. Beautiful arches, murals, a choir section, a Ford automobile, and an unfinished altar in the Centre drew his attention. The area is littered with bird droppings, making it difficult to determine if it is a ruin or under construction. The sun's rays stream through the church's unfinished dome, filtering light within.


A skinny elderly man wearing a red knitted skullcap, a red scarf around his neck, and a dirty blue coat greeted Jim with a smile. He was sweeping from one side of the church to the other with an old broom. He then warmed his hands over a crackling fire and fed his chihuahua a snack. He sat next to Jim and offered him a snack. Jim wanted to learn more about him and what had motivated him to construct this church on his own for over 60 years.

Benjamin was the man's name. Jim inquired if there was anyone who could assist him. He replied with a smile, Almighty helped me, what more could he need?

He told Jim the narrative of his life. 


Benjamin's mother was a devout Christian who instilled faith in him. His basic education was disrupted by the Civil War while he was only ten years old. He witnessed communist forces shooting priests and ransacking the church. He was haunted by the gloomy days of civil war. He went to a monastery when he was a young guy. He was well-liked in the community. People at the monastery were concerned about his health because he worked and fasted excessively. He wanted to be a monk, and he worked hard to achieve that goal. He contracted tuberculosis after eight years of monastic life. He was forced to leave the monastery because he posed a threat to other monks. His health began to deteriorate. He had been broken and had fallen into deep despair. If he healed, he prayed, and eventually came up with the idea of building a church for God. By God's mercy, he was able to recover.


He began reading about cathedrals, castles, and other religious structures in literature. He sold an olive grove that had previously belonged to his family for building the church. He is neither an architect nor a builder. He didn't have any formal plans or approval. He began his task with nothing except his own thoughts. From Monday to Saturday, he gets up at 3.30 a.m. and works for 10 hours. On Sundays, he would go to mass. 


The majority of the building materials were sourced from surplus or outdated construction materials, as well as surplus from the nearby brick factory. The construction work was completed without the use of a crane. He attempted to achieve his aim by climbing the ladder. He has not set a deadline for the completion of his task. There is a complex of minor chapels, lodgings, a library and a crypt below the main building. He lit candles since he didn't want to pollute the surroundings. At first, people laughed at him, thinking he was insane. As the church expanded, however, people noticed that his obsession was out of the ordinary because he was not harming anyone. People were afraid to visit the building because there were wires and pointy metal sticks that are dangerous and sometimes could harm them. He informs them that they don't have to come if they don't want to because he doesn't care.


Benjamin's narrative left an impression on Jim. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Hundreds of people from all over the world come to this church because of his unwavering faith in God. Benjamin is happy with what he has accomplished so far. Jim flew back home but he kept an update on what was happening at Benjamin's church.


Benjamin is 96 years old and is currently supported by his nephews and a few volunteers. Seventy-five per cent of the church's construction has been completed. Additionally, private donations were made. Nobody wants to be responsible for the structural stability of the building. Some speculate that the church will be destroyed or turned into a museum after his death. He bequeathed the church to a non-governmental organization that committed to completing his life's work shortly before his death. Benjamin died in the church and apparently wished to be buried in the crypt. But government officials buried him in a cemetery since the crypt did not fulfil hygiene standards.


Jim's eyes welled up with tears as he was impressed by a man who lived out of the norms, was intellectual in his simplicity, and had deep faith in God. The example focuses on the difficulty rather than the result, on the journey rather than the destination.


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