A week or two ago, I wrote about my flight in an antique plane and my concern as to whether my life insurance would pay out well in the event of an unexpected demise. I survived and am better for the experience, but I found myself wondering about my policy yet again this week as I climbed a thin wooden ladder to the top of a 100-year-old church bell tower.

For an upcoming article, I was assigned to take photos at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Denison, which recently saw the completion of a two-year, million-dollar renovation of the church’s sanctuary.

I was thrilled to get the assignment. I love taking photos of architecture and for years I’ve wanted to explore and photograph different religious spaces. And this was my chance to make at least some of that happen.

The church’s head groundskeeper greeted me and invited me to climb up to the bell tower for some of my first shots. I made it up and back without incident, and though I didn’t get any usable shots, I figured it would be the highlight of the assignment.

But in the end, what I enjoyed most was having the sanctuary all to myself. I couldn’t help but stare at the intricate stained glass window as light poured through them and into the pews. The towering ceilings, the symmetry and the stillness absolutely floored me.

I don’t know if I would call it a religious experience, but a feeling of peace came over me as I worked. I even felt compelled to put my camera down and sit in the pew for a moment, simply so I could marvel at the space.

While I didn’t attend a formal service at the St. Patrick’s or sing with the congregation, I’m thankful for the opportunity to explore the church. It will go down as one of the most memorable and meaningful assignments of my career.

Happy birthday to Mark Blanton, Ashleigh Smith, Terry Green, Hugh Maxwell and Alvin Wayne Gray, all from Sherman; Katy Corbray of Howe; Kyla Neal of Bells; and Treva Anderson Bell of Bedford.

Happy anniversary to Michael and Merrie Hawkins, 12 years.