Monday, January 22, 2007

Orange grove, grilled cheese, and my shower wall

I am about to get all catholic on you. On Saturday, I went to the library with Claire. I picked out some books for Jacob as well. By happenstance, I picked up a book called A Gift of Gracias about Our Lady of Altagracia. Her feast day happens to be January 21st. Pleased by the serendipitous timing, I checked out the book. Jacob and I read it together on Sunday. After we read it, I explained that sometimes Mary appears to people (note to get a children's book about Fatima). Last year, perhaps the year before, a woman in Miami made a grilled cheese sandwich. She believed that an image of the Virgin Mary could be seen in the sandwich. She had the sandwich tattooed on her breast and then sold it on eBay. I found the story absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing to catholics. What kind of kooky person finds revelation in a sandwich? And then sells the sandwich? I was surprisingly angry with this woman - stories like hers detract from the real miracle of visions at Lourdes, Fatima, Medugorge, Guadalupe, etc. - and wasted few opportunities to sneer at her. During the media hubbub, I noticed that a woman in profile is hidden in the pattern on my shower wall. I joke with myself when I see it that perhaps I should prostrate myself in prayer. And then I could cut out the wall and sell it on eBay. I twitter over that picture more often than I care to admit. Who wants to admit to naked twittering, after all? So, this topic has been rolling around in the back of my mind for a while now, and Our Lady of Altagracia has brought it to a head. While I do believe that Mary appears to people sometimes, I also feel an acute embarrassment about that belief. I'm a rational and logical person and such appearances are not in the realm of rationality and logic. I both believe and am eager to explain away my belief - which made for an awkward conversation with Jacob. And I realized that I believe the possibility of visions exists for me only in the past, or in some foreign locale. But here in my reality, I dismiss it. "The Virgin has appeared to many people, but she'll never appear to you," I told my son. And then I was horrified by my vanity. As if I have the right to dictate when and to whom the Virgin will appear. I still don't believe that my bathroom wall holds an image of the Madonna. But it does hold an image that reminds me of her. And maybe that's something that I should consider a little more carefully.

4 comments:

Laura said...

And WHY are you not a writer for a living again?? I just don't understand - I love reading your blog. You have such a way with words and such insight into your life and yourself - I constantly admire you and am glad to count you as one of my friends. :)

Christy said...

Thank you SO much, Laura. SO much. Your opinion means a lot to me because I respect and like you.

But you only think I can write because I use words like "happenstance" and "serendipitous." ;)

Katie said...

Oh, clearly you didn't see the episode of "Miami Ink" where that woman had the grilled cheese tattooed over her heart.

Though I'm not quite Catholic, I adore the Virgin Mary, and I don't know why. Maybe because she personifies the mystery. Have you ever heard the Patty Griffin song "Mary"?

Chris Wasielewski said...

I agree with Laura. You are such a fantastic writer. I had to laugh at the grilled cheese thing. I seem to remember an image on a chip that was recently sold on Ebay as well. Hmmm...... things to ponder.

Chris