The Vatican - The Good, The Bad, The Evil and The Better

It is duly noted I was not having the best day when it came to going to The Vatican. After all that happened I'd lost all faith. However, this was the one thing we discussed and planned. It was no longer about the train incident. It was more about this is the only day we can do this. I'd already wasted a lot of time in the morning. There is a lot of preparation in going to Vatican City. You have to be well dressed. You have to have your camera and phone all ready. You have to have money preferably cash. Actually, take cash! You have to be ready to receive the gift of going. The reality is it isn't just some tourist site. This is an international place of worship. This is a place people make great sacrifices to get to. While we were discussing the Roma pass versus normal entry fees someone was begging or fundraising to just get close. We were upset knowing that we may not be able to everything and some people just want to be as close as they can even if they see nothing.

                                                  The GOOD

There was a lot of Disney panache to the planning of it all. The whole "what will it be like?" and "are we there yet" factor. Yeah but the home of a gigantic mouse is nothing in comparison to the home of the Pope. There are house rules. There are no exceptions. This ain't Disney World - no turning around because you're scared or opting out of group participation. You will be in a line longer than life itself and to leave is abandonment of faith. It sets in pretty quickly that no one is selling ice cream, festive muzak isn't playing and FastPasses aren't a thing. You are one of millions willing to just wait to see whatever it is all the other millions came to see. You must wait to get your turn. You must be humble. You will reflect and be quiet. When it is crowded and hot you will be smushed up against your brethren and you will be thankful for the opportunity.

The trek to The Vatican was incredible. It was unlike any day trip to anywhere else. There are hundreds and thousands of people all headed in the same direction. The train cars are packed, the streets are packed and everyone knows their destination. There is a quickness in everyones step to get there from the tourists, to the visiting nuns, to the shopkeepers around the Vatican walls and to those chosen to go inside. Everyone is respectably going for their own unsaid reasons. There are people smiling, talking, laughing, meeting up halfway, young sisters in light blue and old sisters that look like they won't make it. There are sick people, the homeless, wounded men and bad people all alike in line. We saw a man with no fingers and it was clear that he had done something wrong and was after forgiveness. We both questioned what did he do but then it became how does he collect the coins and bills at his feet. The cars traveling around were not those of common folk but high ranked priests and sisters. Nuns were driving too! They were the ones who could drive through the crowds and into the private city. The guards would come and do this funny dance to open the gates and the cars would drive inside. The passengers didn't bow or look away, they carried on their conversations and looked at us passerbys. They were celebrities and we were those crazy people dying to see their homes.


When we were close we were approached by a young man who asked us to cover up. He said he could help us get inside and tell us what to expect. There were lots of those types who approached us and offered us "inside tips". Those kinds in safe pastels and cargo pants with flags on sticks. He however was helpful in saying we could stay as we were until at the Vatican doors. So no wrapping up just to make the line. Thankfully, we listened because it was extremely hot that day. We approached the first line we saw and waited for nearly twenty minutes. We were content because there was a water fountain nearby, shade from the height of the walls surrounding the square and people that looked like us. However, this was a special tour line and we'd been waiting for nothing. So we approached the side of St.Peters square and walked through its columns and saw all the people waiting. We watched lines and lines of people be corralled in a massive crescent. It was a lot like waiting for the Eiffel Tower but more grand. So much so we didn't realize where the end of the line was. Then we saw it and it was a cool 2,000 people or more long. It was a four hour line without question. A line you couldn't exit for a restroom break or sit on the ground. It was a pilgrimage line where you accepted anything and everything to just get close enough to see inside. It didn't guarantee you entry. It didn't assure you a visit with the Pope. This line merely allowed you judgement by the guards. If you chose to wait and endure the elements and got to the guard and weren't suitable for entry you could be asked to leave.

I have world's weakest bladder and I withstood. I kept the same water from our first trip to that fountain and sipped carefully. I barely touched my phone for fear the battery would die. The sun was absolutely brutal and there was nowhere to hide. The couple in front of us were Americans and they were tortured. They had to pee. They needed water. They took turns walking to shops for bottled water. We moved maybe 25 feet and all their water was gone. We told them about the fountain and it was clear they hadn't heard of the free water. They were reluctant just as we were for the very first time. We pointed through the columns and said we'd hold their place. So the husband stayed and she took the bottles. Water in Rome was delicious but at the Vatican it was ethereal. We'd drank from the fountain as if it was our last drink. A priest came over, lifted his garb and washed his feet beside us. It was the coldest, clearest and most profoundly wonderful water I'd ever had. It was better than Fiji, Voss and Aqua di Nepi combined. We pushed that woman to go get that water as if it would run out. Honestly, it was beyond thirst it was more for the experience. She left and stayed gone for like forty minutes. We were panicking and her husband kept looking at us. We assured him the water existed but by now we'd moved so far. The line had quickened and we all were nervous she wouldn't find us. At the moment we approached the barriers to the next queue she arrived. She had gotten confused and had been trying to find us. In that moment of relief and elation a group of random people skipped us. Yes, we were skipped in world's longest line.


These people about seven deep skipped us by nearly pushing us over mid conversation. Imagine we'd sent this women so far from us to unfamiliar territory. Her husband now all alone in this place. We ultimately felt responsible and awful. We were all looking for her and there is a great sense of tension amongst us. She finally appears flustered and carrying water and we were all so happy to have her back. It felt like it had been ages and everyone was concerned. She was about to go look for her. The husband was acting as if we'd sent her on a wild goose chase. It was the best diversion for these evil doers to just slip right in. The saddest and sickest part is they had children with them. They had accents and were my complexion but we couldn't place them and it didn't matter at the moment. The stun of them doing what they did was being voiced by not just us but many. We were all in awe that anyone could do that. They seriously came from nowhere and they hadn't waited in any lines. Now in normal circumstances people would get violent, there would be cussing but no one could do that. There was just this general disdain, stares and asking of why. Of course they never answered that but made sure to talk about us in English as loud as possible. There were gestures and hand movements and everyone was clearly too hot and already flustered to argue. It was better to just stare at them. She kept yelling at them through making sure everyone heard it. She was more upset at the fact that they had children there to witness the infraction than the infraction itself. Those poor kids looked at us as if to say "we know and we do know better" but there was no way for them to redeem their guardians. The women in the group were all inappropriately dressed. So they began to rummage through all these bags and change clothes while in the line. They put pants over their shorts and jackets over their tops. At one point they pulled out a camera and pointed it our direction as to take pictures of the weirdos that objected to them skipping the world in line. It was messy to say the least.

I'm not into religion but I was raised with it. I had extreme heavy doses of it my entire upbringing. I was raised in a Catholic household and attended Catholic schools. My father is from a Baptist family that owns and operates a Baptist mega-church. I was never allowed to think of anything outside of the scope of religion. I was told that good people are good because of it. I was raised to believe the bad people were those that had went astray and couldn't see the light. In that moment and all the actions beyond that point I saw my reasoning for not having anymore religion in my adult life. I think its sad that unbelieving, non-practicing people always understand and practice right and wrong. e are also self thinking people who can get passionate and spiritual about our own beliefs or lack there of. It's apparent there are people that just come here predestined to do things another way. There is no barrier or threshold by design that can change them. There is also no amount of forgiving and or forgetting that can amend there actions. All I could think about was karma.


Yes, the idea of karma continued to reel in my mind. As a witness to the actions of the day I didn't care to wait on some supernatural perception. The idea of the sky watching and dealing with it later did not sit well with me. I wanted something to happen right then and there. I wanted to witness the swift action of karma as I always expected it to work. I feel bad people doing wrong in real time should see and feel repercussions now versus later. I also feel like good people that know right should be rewarded for just. I think you should get a pat on the back for being good be it karma or a sign. Why should I rely on faith to do its job and only be a good person if I keep it. Sometimes faith conceals this sort of crap and it is good to see it outed and for karma to just plain work. I think I wished so damn hard while standing in line Saint Peter diverted his plans.
Once nearest to the guards we put on our protection. She put on a jacket and wrapped a scarf around her knees. I put on a blouse and tied my scarf about my knees. We were allowed to approach and begin the queue around St.Peters Basilica. Then it was cool and shaded and like a pit stop. Those line skipping people had made it to the guards. They appeared to be detained. They were being questioned about all those bags and their attire. They all stupidly looked looked at us as we were able to just pass them by. It was the loveliest feeling. 

We finally made it to the front steps. I'm sure the steps are a place of great relief for many but for me personally a place of curiosity. I was able to look out over the square to see what I had endured to get there and turn to look into the doors to the unknown ahead. A great number of us mushed together and gathered at the said doors and I don't remember if they were open already or opened in some grand fashion. All I know is once we mashed and pushed inside those great doors and looked up everything was worth it. There was something that just took the breathe out of everyone and made us seem so very small in the universe. My eyes welled up because I couldn't believe hands could be responsible for everything before us. We all seemed to look up at the gilded ceilings and look at our neighbors to make sure it was real. I can't say that my faith was restored in that moment. It was just a start. The entire day was a test, a sign, a reward. Let's just say I saw things many people wait a lifetime to see. Some people risk and lose it all just to get close and not see anything at all. I was able to see everything - the good, bad, evil and the better. 

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