Is your life worthy of imitation?
As the Christmas season approaches, I reflect back to my first trip to Italy.
My husband, a devout Catholic, was raised in Poland pretty much living next door to Karol Wojtyla who would become Pope, John Paul II. As a matter of fact while having dinner one evening my very dear friend told that me she was baptized by this up and coming Priest Karol Wojtyla in Poland. A flood of questions came bursting out of my mouth like a machine gun firing away trying to understand what growing up with the Pope must have been like.
Yes, being baptized is to wipe away all original and actual sin so that you may step into your life with a clear soul, conscious and body yet my mind went right to all of the past wrong doings, divorces, foul language and bad thoughts that I have had throughout my life and wondered what living next door to the Pope must be like. Would I be different, would I have made other choices?
So as my husband and I head off for our first trip to Italy I reflect back to the conversation I had with my friend about this “regular guy,” Karol Wojtyla. But now, this “regular guy” was the leader of the Catholic Church and it had been arranged that we were to have a private audience with this “regular guy”, Pope John Paul II.
I don’t even remember the flight over I was so distraught and worried about this meeting. I was positive that Pope John Paul II would be able to see every wrong doing in my eyes and condemn me to a life of misery. My husband on the other hand was ecstatic to be meeting this amazing man from his homeland.
When we landed in Rome we were met by a Monk from the local Polish monastery that housed the Professors from Pontifical Gregorian University. I of course am still too overcome with fear to relax and go with the flow. I am certain that any moment I will be called out and maybe even sent to a monastery myself to clear my soul. Yet, our arrival at the monastery was gracious and kind.
We were led to our room which had a small window and two narrow beds on either side. The accommodations were modest at best and for the first time in my life I felt incredibly safe. It was the strangest feeling and to this day I can remember what that place represented to me.
That evening we fell asleep and the next morning arose to the quiet chanting of the monks. At breakfast we were told that our private audience was cancelled as Pope John Paul II had just returned from Cuba and was too exhausted to see anyone except the sick but we would still attend his general audience.
As relieved as I was, my husband was saddened that he would never meet this man face to face. So off to the bus stop we go, it was rush hour and the bus was packed like sardines, perfect for pick pocketing, which was exactly what had happened. Everything gone in a moment’s glance, without ever knowing until we went to buy lunch without a penny to our name. I of course was sure that it was because of my past and that we were being punished on our way to see the Pope.
As we arrive at the Vatican it seemed almost bigger than life. It certainly made me reflect and take stock of the gifts that I have to bring to the world and that if one person could start all of this, then I certainly could do something that could make a difference in other people’s lives as well.
We were ushered by the Swiss Guard into a big auditorium room with thousands of other people from around the world. Everyone was singing, chanting, praying in their native tongue until all of the sudden a little hunched over man came walking across the stage and the room filled will people yelling “Il Papa, Il Papa” and waving white handkerchiefs. It was nothing short of spectacular.
Pope John Paul II began to recite a service in eleven different languages and as he flowed from language to language the people in the audience who were Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and non-believers from those countries raised their white handkerchiefs and clapped, whistled, and applauded. The room erupted in a sentiment of joy and camaraderie that was something to this day I find hard to explain yet I will never forget the power that this little hunched over man from a small town in Poland had.
In the end, the angst that I put myself through on this trip was solely driven by my ego or lack thereof and of who I wasn’t being instead of coming from a place of “I am enough” and that I do have the power within me to change the world in which I live and so do you.
What is it that is inside of you, waiting patiently for you to release it to the world?
Cheers to the best version of yourself,
P.S. In this season of giving, don’t forget to share. There may be someone in need of a message they need to hear.
Wondering what is in store for your life? Sign up to get on the waitlist of my upcoming live-on-line vision board workshop. Don’t miss an opportunity to create the life that you dream about.