The oddest thing just happened.
Let me first say that this has been a calm, pleasant weekend. A longtime dear friend came with her husband to stay with me this weekend and Lee was LESS anxious than normal. Since they came he has spent most of his time just lying or sleeping on the chaise lounge in the den where we have been sitting. He rarely does that, preferring his room to being in the den, especially if I have guests, but this time it was as if he didn’t want to be left out or miss anything.
Yesterday while Lee was asleep on the chaise and my friend and I were talking in front of the fire, I just happened to run across a special little bag of dirt while looking for gloves to handle the firewood. I threw a pinch of the dirt into the fire with a wish for health and happiness for all living beings. I try to do this on Jan 1st of each year with what is known as the “Holy Dirt of Chimayo”. I have about a quarter cup of this dirt left from a visit about a decade ago to the Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited Chimayo, with between 20-30 thousand people coming on Good Friday every year seeking miracles, blessings and/or the peace that comes from worshiping in such a sacred place. Just off the sanctuary is a special room with a small hole filled with the dirt from the area that you can touch and with the small scoop provided put some in a little baggie to take with you. This is exactly what I did when I was there. I have used my dirt sparingly over the years and in all honesty there are years that I have forgotten about it. This year might have been one of those years as well had I not just happened to run across it. When I did, it made me pause for just a minute and thinking about what it meant I put some on the fire. Then it occurred to me that I had never put any on Lee and here was my chance with him asleep on the chaise. Knowing not to touch him I just sprinkled a small amount from my fingers on top of his head and with all the faith I could muster in those few seconds I prayed for a miracle to cure his mental illness.
Today immediately after saying goodbye to my friends, I went into the den, got comfortable in my reclining chair in front of the fire and looked up. The TV was on and in that second on the screen were the words: “The HOLY DIRT of CHIMAYO”. It was a new show coming on Oprah’s new network called Miracle Detectives. Much information was given about the site, its history and the many miracles that have occurred there. In the end, the detectives concluded there was nothing special about the dirt except for some properties that if you ingested might help with heartburn. BUT….they felt that faith, the placebo effect and the atmosphere of this special place could have consequences beyond our understanding.
I can tell you that my trip to Chimayo years ago was happenstance, it was not a place that I had intended to visit…in fact, to be honest, I had never even heard of the place. But while in Santa Fe someone just happened to mention that my friend and I should drive out there. I am so glad I did, it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. When I went to the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu, those were planned trips and along with some of the grand cathedrals in Europe and the Blue Mosque in Turkey I was expecting to have an experience I would never forget. But I had no expectations on my drive to Chimayo and yet it was an indescribable experience. I felt so connected, so close to what I know as God, a spiritual force that was unparrelled. I am not Catholic but I asked the priest to bless me in this, one of my most special places.
I do believe in miracles and that I found the dirt and saw the show have made me slow down today after a busy holiday season and really think about the meaning of Christmas. It continues on as I write this since after the Miracle Detectives show I turned the channel to watch Celtic Woman perform. They sing so beautiful that even Lee just asked me who they are. Lee is still on the chaise but facing away from the TV. When I told him who was singing he said to leave it on, that it would help him to go to sleep. These were the words they were singing at that moment: “Who Knows What Miracles Can Happen When You Believe”.