The Grotto


I took Ewan to The Grotto last night here in Portland to see their amazing array of Christmas lights.

The Grotto is a religious sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Sorrowful). It is nestled into and upon a cliff. Some of the scenes at The Grotto are impressive- some are strange. It is all very Catholic.


There is this cool meditation chapel at the top o’ the cliff- actually hanging right over the edge. It is all glass and very still and very quiet.

Neat right?

Well, in the glass structure of the chapel is another glass structure- which holds a life size- life like- Kim Cattrall “Mannequin” style Virgin Mary. It is really weird. She has alabaster skin and blonde (real human) hair.

Now we all know the likelihood of Jesus and those disciples being white guys with long flowing hair is – well,

it just-  isn’t. 

Same deal goes for His mom.

But I am not here to quibble about such things- merely someone’s interpretation…


I was raised Catholic and spent my Sundays going to church. This religious background I was given, lovingly by my parents- acted as a springboard for all of my other thoughts on existence, religion, why we are here…ya know- light stuff.

I CONSTANTLY challenged my poor mother on her beliefs- offering little facts that i’d picked up along the way like:

“Did you know in the middle ages priests could sell indulgences Mother?

People, if they were rich enough could buy their way to salvation?!!!” 

Yeah. That was me.

I like to think that my questioning mind coupled with the unanswerable stuff of the universe- led me to seek out further information on the grand “WHY?”.

I have spent a chunk of time studying other religions- visiting Ashrams, Temples. For a while I considered myself a Religious Pluralist- believing in the commonality of religions and their mutually existent truths.

Also acknowledging in the same breath, that this idea of commonality seems to apply to religion both as a- “manifestation of seekers” (on one end of the spectrum) -and also as ” tool of oppression”. Simultaneously existing. Simultaneously confusing- if ya let it be

If Vishnu and the Virgin can co-exist in my mind why not the rest?

Can I be appalled by religion and intregued and in awe of it -all at the same time?

The answer… WHY NOT.

Ewan and I walked into the church at The Grotto and we listened to the choir sing- and it was beautiful- and I cried. I cried for the sweetness of the moment, my son at my side- another Christmas season upon us. I shed tears as I realized that the pocket of forgiveness in my heart can and should be dipped into. This forgiveness is what allows me to focus and be moved by the architecture and the organ music (not the wrongness of the crusades). It is this forgiveness which allows for hope that the conflicts in the world and in our lives can be transcended. I am serious. Sentimental- and Serious. 

All those years of church going and grumbling and fighting with my mom over the relevancy of the advent wreath or the infallibility of the pope-

All of her efforts are still very appreciated. I acknowledge the importance of faith and of believing in something beautiful- and this is really a gift from my mom. We might have different ideas on what we think is beautiful- but hey- Love is love.

And I do LOVE my mother…

Look at how cute she is:img_4867

So- Mom,

I enjoyed my very Catholic moment. Thought you would like to know. Maybe because it reminded me of you? But mostly because I was reminded that faith and love are real- despite all of the other crap….

well, at least for me.

Love you.

One response to “The Grotto

  1. Very very beautiful……..and I love you. Hugs & Kisses, Mom

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