Sunday, February 21, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want, But If You Try Real Hard You Get What You Need

The title of this post is a slight variation of a line from a Rolling Stones' song. I spend quite a bit of time with my family in Mexico. This year, my mother came from the South to spend a week with me. My mother is very Spiritual and religious. So naturally, she wanted to go to the Basilica and see the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Let me give you some background information.

Mary, the mother of Jesus appeared to Juan Diego, an Indian or Mexican peasant, asking him to have a church built where she appeared to him. Juan was told to bring a sign. Mary told him to collect some red roses, in the middle of winter from a dry, barren hilltop. He used his cape, woven from plant fibers, to gather the roses. He brought the roses to the ruling church authorities. These people were European, wealthy, well-educated and of course had a disdain for this mestizo peasant who did not even speak Spanish.

Juan was granted an audience with some of the high ranking church officials. He, or someone, unfurled his cape to show the officials the beautiful, red roses. Upon the cape that had been unfurled, was an image, left from the roses. That image is that of the Virgen Mary that is enshrined today in the Basilica in Mexico City.

Now here are the parts that are even more fascinating. The cloth in which the image has been imprinted is made from untreated, natural fibers. It generally has a five year life span. It can last at the most 30 years, then it literally disintegrates. The cloth or cape on which the image appears is now 500 plus years old and still around.
The 'paint' of the image is not inside the cloth, melded to the fibers of the cape. It 'floats' on top of the image. They have not been able to find this process in nature or in man-made processes.
Now here's the real kicker! In the mid 20th century, some one discovered, in the eye of the image, another image. In the Virgen's eye, is an image of a man kneeling and two other persons. Scholars have determined that the people in her eye are the same people that were present when the cape was unfurled.
The images in her eye match the paintings of the those people who were supposedly present in the room when the cape was unfurled, the roses fell to the floor and the image of the Virgen Mary appeared. We all know how priests and high ranking people commission their portraits, right? Well portraits of these historical people match the image in her eye. The image in her eye was created at the moment the cape was unfurled. So, she was 'looking at' these folks in the room as her image came to life.

I had been meditating and thinking about 2010. I want to add value and help others. I want to live a life where I helped to make it easier and better for someone else, for my being here. So I was in this state of mind when we took my mom to the Basilica. My mother wanted to get a blessing and have some other experiences the site offers.

The majority of people that are there are considered pilgrims. Pilgrims are defined here as people who undertake a long journey for a religious or spiritual purpose. They come from all over Mexico. They come from the very small towns on the outskirts of Mexico City, many of them are very poor, infirmed, sick, uneducated and some don't speak Spanish.

We decided to go to a part of the Basilica compound that we had not been to before. There is a movie documentation and I found a seat and watched it. I laid down my belongings right next to me in the dark room. After the documentary completed, the lights came up and I collected my belongings and left the museum.

Outside, about 10 minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten my little coin purse. My 'little' coin purse contained about 100 dollars in Mexican pesos. I could not go back into the museum without paying and I didn't have any money left anyway.

Guess what I did? It wasn't noble or life affirming at all. I got ANGRY! I was pissed off because I had lost MY money. Then my husband said to me,"That 100 dollars was a lot of money to lose, but you can make that back so easily. Just let it go."

Then I remembered my request that I wanted to give and to help others. The odds are that whoever found my coin purse was NOT someone that was well off. I had no identifying information in the coin purse, so it wasn't like they would be stealing if they kept it. Indirectly, my request had been fulfilled. It definitely wasn't what I thought I wanted. It was what I knew I needed - to help others.

This was definitely a case of not getting what I wanted, but getting what I personally needed. Sometimes, we want to define how situations should work out, when they should work out and exactly what they should look like. That is not necessarily for us to do. Be open and accepting of how situations and events may transpire.

You can pick the car, and be the vehicle, but you may not be able to decide upon the road to take or the destination. That's okay, because you may end up in a place that you yourself could never have imagined or planned. After all, we are merely and only human, right?

By the way, between those of us with me at the Basilica, we came up with more than enough money to ensure that my mom got the trinkets and things she wanted. I was even able to purchase two books!

Who knows, someone may have been praying for a miracle. That hundred dollars that I lost and they found may have been the answer to their prayers. All I wanted was to help somebody. Instead, I may have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of a miracle. Amazing.

Beautify the World in Which You Inhabit, Bit by Bit, Day by Day.


Lina40 said...

this is an inspiring and interesting post. Three years ago on the day before Mother's Day, I was at a church leading a rehearsal for some children for the Mother's appreciation service. After the rehearsal ended I went to retrieve my purse and could not find it. It turns out that it was stolen when we were ending the session with prayer and noone saw the culprit. I was so upset and beside myself, as I had just bought the purse, a new wallet, and withdrew $80 from the ATM. But after my anger subsided, I prayed for the person who took it and hoped that they were blessed by what was inside even though it was morally wrong to do. I do regularly say I want to help people, but this was definitely an unexpected route. I had to take new drivers license and get new cards and everything, but ironically, my new drivers ID that i took the day after Mothers day I look so happy and I always get compliments on it. There is so much to be thankful for that I had to let go of the anger.

The House 4 U said...

Lina, that's what I call being teh bigger person. YOU took the noble approach. Your photograph on your license reflects and captures that inner light that resulted in you making the right decisions and taking the right actions.None of which were easy to do. All of which took courage. Good for you!

chicoro said...

The House 4 U is me, Chicoro! Bear with me. I am trying to expand my technical skills and as you can see, I am making mistakes. Sigh...I will figure it out-eventually.