I am searching for some pictures on Tariqs collection and I come upon this picture and it transports me to five and half years ago………………
We are on the bus heading to The Valley of the Fallen……
As everyone alights the bus and moves towards the cathedral, I look up and my heart is pierced with pain.
I have never been able to look head on at the body of what Christians call Jesus on the cross, nailed through his palms, bleeding, semi naked, I have always felt that it is disrespectful and desensitizing. But in all my years of facing it inadvertently I have not been desensitized.
Today the sky is blue, my son and my daughter are with me, it s a joyful time in Spain as we slowly make our way to the muslim heritage in Southern Spain and Jabal ut Tariq (Gibraltar). This trip is to show Tariq how he was named and why. It is also a high school graduation gift, and perhaps the last time that the three of us will be carefree and untrammeled by worries. Paul has opted out of the trip, unable to tear himself away from work.
As I look up I am shot in the heart with pain. “The distance between Mary’s head and the lowest part of the body of Jesus resting on the parapet is eighteen feet,” says our Spanish guide. All I can think and feel is the pain of the mother, frozen in stone, seeping out and pouring into me. I can see that Tariq is also deeply affected. This photo is from his collection.
Little did I know that a year later I would join the ranks of Mary (AS) without the reins of her Sabr and the rock of her spiritual strength.
In the valley of the fallen, looking up at her personification in stone, all I could feel was her pain pouring into me, and even four years later it continues to do so.