Walking onto Chimayo Mission ground on a whim – Adrian having never been there and my having been there with my mom and sisters a couple years prior – I thought maybe he’d like to experience it.
It was special and impactful – not for a second expecting that versus the sightseeing detour I assumed it’d be. We walked into the start of an outdoor Mass able to experience that as we entered.
Just moments before – getting out of the car and beginning to walk – I noted a tiny heart shaped natural stone on the ground – less than an inch square. I quietly reached down to pick it up and kept walking holding it between my fingers thinking about that unusual moment.
Once the service was over – beautiful as it was framed by the mountains behind under a canopy of trees and sun shades – we walked up to the church itself. The legend has to do with the healing powers of the dirt in this place (learning that can easily be googled.) I’m spiritual and entertain the mystical easily, but have a definite rational side known to struggle with faith. Despite that, we were both deeply moved by what we experienced in the historic chapel with its earthy beauty.
Tentatively, we walked into a tiny side room where people bend down to scoop up a tiny bit of soil into a container – often saying a prayer in hope their desire will be heard. We passed two rows of left behind crutches – that leave much to the imagination. Impactful – no matter the story behind them.
As we stood there, a couple made their way into the room escorting their mother who took delicate steps so she wouldn’t fall. She stood around the small well of dirt with us as the younger woman near her reached down and began to wash her feet in dirt with prayer…and it was clear she was asking for healing. It was all I could do to hold back the emotion flooding me in that moment in this ancient room with strangers hoping for a miracle. One profound impact of this place is the sheer vulnerability of many who come – praying for the possibility of healing. It leaves you humbled, at a loss for words, and with the awareness that we are each wounded souls in search of healing, in some way, if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to admit it. That takes guts – too much strength for most.