Gratitude journal
three good things

Jun 12, 2019

An unforgettable day

I am grateful Cite St Pierre, a place of calm and tranquility away from the bustle of the town and a wonderful running route. Delighted I can still run up hills first thing in the morning after a bottle of red wine the previous night and far too few hours sleep.

Josephine led a thoughtful and engaging Formation this morning for the four English speakers in Group 31. We talked about many things to do with Lourdes and faith, including service á la Gare. We felt this was at times difficult, practically. At the same time it could be emotionally demanding as we welcomed new pilgrims and said farewell to those departing. Josephine took the discussion further and illustrated the dilemmas and bear-traps of Lourdes with this poem written by the late Jim Larner, an HNDL Hospitalier:

He cannot move or speak or see
This hunk of sub-humanity
Brain dead? Alive and just asleep?
A sight to make the Angels weep.
A snoring hulk, a human shell,
His only attribute – a smell
Confined within his coffined bed
’T’were almost better he were dead.

What cost to State or Charity
And yet no ‘Sleeping Beauty’ he.
The nun who tended him has left,
God pity him – this soul bereft.
Our task to lift him from the train,
Avoiding any stress or pain,
So better call up Number Four
And slide this bed-box to the door.

(I’ll bet this poor bloke weighs a ton)
‘Say when you’re ready, everyone –
Together now – but watch his arms’
(Can man be so devoid of charms!)
‘Now place him on this tringlot there’
(Great Heaven, what a vacant stare!)
Without a doubt he is quite ga
But one had better ask ‘Ça va?

A smile illumes that awful face
Mais oui merci – vous êtes anglais?’
(He must have heard and understood
We just assumed he never could.)
I hope we didn’t sound unkind,
Please God, he couldn’t read my mind!
Ashamed, I stroke his cheek and turn,
And suddenly a truth discern.

We have the Faith and do good works,
Yet still The Foe within us lurks.
We were to busy ‘doing good’
To recognise the Son of God.

(Reproduced by the HNDL by kind permission of Jim’s son, also  a member of HNDL)


As if to drive home the point, this afternoon’s session in the baths was one of the longest and most physically and emotionally demanding I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. From 2 until 6, they never stopped coming, wheelchair after wheelchair, stretcher after stretcher with some of the most disabled and handicapped people I have ever met. It was dark and at the same time our malades shone a powerful light with their remarkable courage, humour and acceptance of their condition.

It was only when walking back up through the Sanctuary that the effects of the afternoon really began to hit home and I am grateful to Fiona M for appearing out of nowhere to let me talk about the afternoon and giving me a big hug.

The Engagement ceremony in the evening was inspiring and it was a pleasure to be there for Diane and Glan as they received the Hospitalier medals.

A Gratitude Journal is just a simple way of
recording and appreciating the good things in life.

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal leads to
higher levels of alertness, happiness and positive emotions as well as
a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure and better sleep.

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