As I’m flying out of my seat and watching the lady next to me fly into the ceiling of the airplane, the very first crazy thought that went through my head was “I knew it wasn’t going to be brain cancer that took me out!” I tend to be a little dramatic when it comes to stuff like that, but it seriously was that intense. And because we were on board a flight headed to Lourdes, France, many of the passengers, of all ages, were in wheelchairs or hooked up to machines. I was just floored at the bravery of these families to travel so far. The turbulence was terrifying though. I’ve never been scared during turbulence until that moment. People, things, oxygen tanks. It all went flying. It was exactly the amount of chaos you would imagine you would have when you feel like you’re falling out of the sky!
But that is absolutely the only negative thing you’ll see me write about this trip. Trip? Well, Michael and I’ve been keeping something to ourselves for a couple months now (we chose to wait until after the experience to share it with everyone). A new, good friend of mine asked me back in March if we might be interested in going on a donor funded pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. Initially I wasn’t sure how the logistics would work and I wasn’t sure if it would actually happen, but by the Grace of God and prayers from our family and friends, and church family, we went to Lourdes.
What is a pilgrimage? A pilgrimage is a journey a pilgrim makes to a sacred place for the purpose of venerating it or to ask for heavenly aid, and ultimately to come to know God better. So where and what is Lourdes? Lourdes is a small city in southern France where Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to Saint Bernadette 18 different times at the grotto. I wasn’t super familiar with the story before we were invited to go to Lourdes. The only time I remember hearing the story was from a friend. She shared with me that she had met a woman who was diagnosed with cancer and after kneeling in front of a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and praying, it miraculously went away. After hearing this story, Michael and I (along with more people than I’m sure I know) decided to do a Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes.
Shortly after finishing the Novena, another friend of mine (different friend) had read my blog (asking people to pray the Our Lady of Lourdes Novena with us) and asked if she could mail me something. She sent me water from Lourdes. But it wasn’t just water from Lourdes. The name on the bottle was the organization that wanted to take us, North American Lourdes Volunteers. And my friend had no idea about any of this when sending it.
Here is a link with the story of Lourdes. It’s worth reading!
It’s probably clear now why we felt so called to go to Lourdes. The opportunity to go bathe in the healing waters (which will be its own blog entry later on), was life changing. Simply life changing.
When this pilgrimage was first presented to us, one of the first things I noticed were the dates, June 18-June 24. Fathers Day to our anniversary. That seemed so special, and it is. Not to mention, my next scan was scheduled for the 25th. So basically, they want us to go bathe in the waters and heal and then go get some pictures of my brain to remember the whole thing by! I hope Michael wants a picture of my brain for our Anniversary!
I love celebrating anything that has to do with my husband, especially when it’s our fifth wedding anniversary! We had the opportunity while we were in Lourdes to renew our vows in the grotto in front of everyone. It was so sweet, even if I do look like the American flag! Although it was a week of spiritual and emotional healing and growth, it brought me so much closer with Michael. I was in a wheelchair most of the week because of my hip (still) and fatigue. So Michael pushed me. He pushed me up hills, down hills, over sidewalks, in stores..you get the picture. I was suffering and in pain, and Michael took on his own sufferings to lighten mine. I know that’s what spouses are supposed to do, but sadly not all do. He is so selfless! Sarah, this is a quality you should look for in a husband. Write it down!