He wandered, pantless, five hundred pound camera round his neck waving at anyone who looked his way. I am pretty confident my two year old Ernie, is not your standard day tripper in Lourdes.
I couldn't put my finger on how it felt to wander through this park of pilgrimge, where hundreds of people qued to touch the wall where the Virgin Mary "our Lady of Lourdes" is said to have been seen in a cave underneath the Basillica of our Lady of Lourdes. Millions come here every year to bath in the holy water, hoping to be heeled and blessed. It's touching. Humbling. As a non catholic fascinating.
Whatever you believe in this place is overwhelming. Hundreds of faiths, people from all over the world, people in all states of health with any number of disabilities. Of all the craziness going on In the world it got me that there are so many people who still have faith. Faith in something bigger and greater than us all.
I am not religious but I have faith. In people. That people are good. In a park full of some heartbreaking scenes my little man wandered around waving. Smiling and laughing. So unaware of why these people were here. He completely gatecrashed a group trying to have a group photo. Twenty people all supposed to be looking one way. Being heckled by my pantless two year old shouting: "I have Daddies big camera!" One by one the group disbanded, amused by my disruptive son. The group leader, complete with yellow umbrella for them all to follow was far from amused but the onlookers, they thought it hilarious.
Yes I am biased but this is a lesson isn't it. We can make each other laugh. Even in difficult times, when heartbreak is all around us. We, people can make each other smile.