Crew: Neil and Carolyn, Gayle, and Ave
- 0700 Breakfast
- 0800 Assemble and “Roll Out” for
- 0930 Papal mass at the underground Basilica
- 1200 Lunch
- 1315 Stations of the Cross
- 1900 Dinner
I’ve got great news race fans. After my emotional outburst of the first few days, I’m into the home stretch. Only a couple tangents and getting things wrapped up for the last few days with no more existential questions, whiny Luke Skywalker rants, or Batman emo. (That and some of you are getting fed up with how long it is taking!)
After the stations, Neil, Carolyn, and Gail all wondered what we were to do, and Mel and I said we could go up the hill towards the fort again, going to Bar Express. On the way, Neil led us to a little museum that explained what Lourdes looked like in 1858, how Bernadette got from her home to the grotto, what the messages were from our Lady, etc. This was Neil’s 3rd visit, I think, and he knew how to impress this history nerd! We also didn’t stop on the way up the hill save at the Poor Claire’s and then when I almost tipped over in the voiture (I didn’t though!) I had joked that I would need a helmet in my wheelchair… I should have gotten one for Lourdes!
Did you know the voiture has no seatbelt nor roll bar? The FDA would have a field day with regulations and restrictions and authorizations and warning labels and years of testing… Did I mention I hate bureaucracy for the sake of nothing?
We went all the way up to the fort, and God bless all my crew for they pulled and pushed up the steep hill with nary a whimper, with a lot of sweat, and with much laughter. For my part, I felt like it opened up on that day with a clarity and a letting go of stuff. I felt lighter, (I don’t know if Neil thought so) and able to observe everything around with clearer eyes.
The fort has wonderful vistas and a miniature replica of the town, including a model Templar fortress. And some wonderful people. Picture break!
Ok, picture break over. We went back down the hill, arriving back around 1630 and unfortunately missed the international party for the Order of Malta… so we stayed at the cafe and had beers together!
I know I’ve said it before, and it won’t be the last, but this pilgrimage had more healing and growth with the community we built up over the week, with malades, companions, knights and dames, learning about each other, witnessing the charity and genuine love our team showed for us and each other. Learning who they are under the uniforms, but also learning that the uniform isn’t just an outfit they wear at Lourdes but a vocation they live without flashiness in their daily lives. Would that I could a 100th of such service in my life, without wanting to be recognized. I won’t share the details of the conversations save that they were genuine. I was so comfortable that I stayed longer than Mel, who was tired, so I could talk more with people I was learning so much from. (I only had 1 beer!)
I’ve said it a million times at work: more gets done over 1 drink than 20 meetings. I think the Holy Spirit was cooking whatever it was he threw together so that I could process everything that was happening.
Next post closes the day, then I have my post of FAME.