“What’s in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other word would smell as sweet.”
Lourdes, France. That’s where I have been for the past few days. The first impression of this place was that it was a small rural town and peaceful. It reminded me of where I was born, Vietnam. The vibe of the rustic, tranquil, and a hint of city life made me think back to the open stalls, the narrow roads, the sandwich baguettes for breakfast, and the hustle and bustle of cars and pedestrians. As we made our way into the grotto I felt a sense of stillness, with a few exceptions of the high energy Italians.
What struck me the most is when on Saturday we decided to go to the baths. The thought of getting into the same waters as everyone else scared me. And when my turn was up I walked through the curtains and quickly, I was humbled. I went into the same large room with someone who had no feet and was paralyzed from the waist down. I was nervous. I hurriedly unchanged, sat quietly down wrapped in only a large cape, and waited for my turn watching at least 6 nurses maneuvering the disabled lady. I was panicking, “Do I really want to do this?” What seemed like eternity passed and it was my turn to go in. The nurse who was helping me embraced me and said, “Pray to Our Lady and she will help you know what to do.” The first step I took into the water had a piercing coldness I had never experienced before (and Scotland weather could not compare). Each step I took I could feel the intense shivers run through my body and the most I could muster was sitting down for a split second — I was freezing. As I walked out of those waters I was in shock and shivering. I changed back into my clothes and walked out of the baths disappointed that I didn’t do the whole body immersion.
After my experience, I sat thinking about what had just happened as my body adjusted back to normal temperatures. And my only thought was this, “How amazing to see the commitment, day in and day out, for these nurses to provide such a memory to all those coming to Lourdes to experience the grotto waters.” What I saw in the room with the lady lying on the stretcher was genuine, real love. With sure hands and precise instructions to follow, they still showed all the care in the world to the lady lying there. You could feel the love and appreciation. Each person mattered. Every person mattered. Whether you are old or young, rich or poor, disabled or not, you mattered. The title you had: doctor, lawyer, bishop, priest, sister, etc. the most important one is this:
Child of God.