To be able to return to Marseilles where I landed eight years ago for my first adventure as an adult, rediscover the love and friendships I still have there, and immerse my daughter in that same love; the language and its culture as well, is for me an absolute Miracle.
If you go to Marseilles you'll see that Notre Dame is a golden icon on top of the hill, and visible from most parts of the city. She lights up at night, and casts fiery sunsets over the Frioul archipelago (a group of four islands). I lived in Marseilles for three years and would have visited Notre Dame de La Garde at least five times. If you are like me, you were probably so busy admiring the architecture, ornate ceiling, and panoramic view of the city outside this basilica church to even notice the hundreds and thousands of artifacts and offerings of gratitude to Notre Dame (Virgin Mary) for her magic-making.
I always knew Notre Dame "watches over us and protects the city" as I was once told by a local in the fish market of the Vieux Port, but I assumed it was just a common belief amoung the Marseillais. The other week back at Notre Dame de La Garde, my good friend Didier - Marseilles born and bred - who I hadn't seen in four years, explained: the hundreds of military medals, tiles engraved with words of thanks (that have even spread to the exterior of this beautiful Basilique), and the mobiles of maquettes, or model ships and airplanes; represent real survivors of disasters, because in a moment of panic they prayed for Notre Dame's protection and it was granted. There are even walls of paintings depicting Notre Dame shining over scenes of child birth and sick beds, there to save their Shine A Life! You will also find a soldier's helmet, a buoy, and a piece of melted fire engine, because the truck got caught in the fire but the pompiers survived.
I find this incredible phenomenon to be a serendipitous discovery at a moment in my Shine A Life, where I most needed an example of what Gabby Bernstein's New York Time Number One Bestseller "The Universe has your back" describes as "letting go of fear and opening up to the love of the universe" (a book I bought to read post-op after my recent laparoscopy). It isn't a coincidence that as I went to buy my usual French magazine to bring back with me to read, I picked up a copy of happinez - the first French Mindstyle magazine - featuring an article by Marianne Williamson: "Croire que l'amour est plus fort que la peur" (believe that love is stronger than fear).
Now I don't know if Our Lady has worked her magic on me but I know there isn't any harm in believing. How else is this eternal flame of friendship even possible? I hadn't seen most of my friends in at least two years and somehow our special connection sparks up in seconds when we reunite. Marveling in this magic with a friend I didn't get to see this time, my Michy replied, "Oh yes, I don't doubt the value and quality of our friendship. Regardless of the time passed or the distance, I will always be so happy to be reunited with you my Émy jolie". Amen.
Having met Sienna's Papá here, as well as her Madrina, I can't help feeling she is my little Miracle from Marseilles...