Thursday, January 17, 2013

pulling for patti

"I am going to be in Portland on Wednesday -- at the Grotto.  I know you aren't interested in going there, but I would like to see you."

It was my friend, Patti.  You met her earlier in coaxing the blues out of the horn.  She is currently undergoing a series of chemotherapy treatments for liver cancer.

I knew why she wanted to go to the Grotto (the popular name for The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother).  "A welcoming presence and beautiful environment conducive to peace, quiet, and spiritual inspiration" -- according to its web site.

It is also a place of pilgrimage for Roman Cathlolics seeking the intercession of Saint Peregrine for illnesses.  Especially cancer.

But, for Patti, it was not only a place for intercession.  It was a legacy trip.  Her mother took her there as a child, just as her grandmother had taken her mother there.  Patti was sharing the place with her daughter.

They thought I would not care to go there because I am not Catholic.  I am catholic in the sense I believe in the universality of the Christian faith.  I am simply not a Roman Catholic.

But, Patti was wrong.  I did enjoy the spiritual nature of the place.  The grotto -- the carved cave topped with a rather pedestrian copy of Michelangelo's Pieta -- is not noteworthy in any artistic sense.  But there is a sense of peace there.

One of the lessons Mexico has taught me is a greater respect for other people's religious practices.  Some people find symbols helpful in reaching out to the divine.  I have stopped looking at those practices, as I once did, through prejudiced eyes. 

Symbols do not work for me.  But they are certainly efficacious to others.

That is the same feeling I had while walking with Patti and her daughter.  They lit a candle and placed it with the choir of other flames sending petitions to God.  And, even though, I did not light a candle, I added my own prayer.

More than that, I enjoyed spending the afternoon with a very special friend who has been a big part of my life for the past thirty-seven years.  And will always be.

We are indeed pulling for you, Patti.


Jose RPHS said...

Steve do you know what health care system Patti is in?

Joanna van der Gracht Powell said...

When you went to the Grotto, you went with the Hope that your friend would find comfort in your company and that she would be soothed by the grace of the holy place.Your Faith sustained you there. It helped you to channel your compassion for Patti and her daughter, and everyone enjoyed the day. Without the support of your Faith, I suspect that you would have felt very different. Your Faith has also helped you to recognize that the symbols and practices of different religions don't matter. Faith is Faith. And yours has led you to Love.. some call this being touched by God. I felt very moved by your story about Patti and her daughter and the Grotto. Thank you.

Shannon Casey said...

That was a nice story Steve, and I will add a prayer for your friend. Your "Grotto" has a very Mexican feel about it.

Steve Cotton said...

Patti is the very essence of a nice friend.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Joanna. It is a great journey.

Steve Cotton said...

Not certain.

Steve Cotton said...

My blogger pal Al (in San Miguel de Allende) is having problem with my comment engine. Here is his comment --

Very well put. I also respect other people's religious faiths, though I draw the line at Scientology. With all the fear and emotional tumult Patti must be feeling right now, a place of prayer, quiet and meditation is the best thing regardless of the specific denomination or venue. Wish her well.

Steve Cotton said...

You just did.