Yesterday was a disturbing day. The tragic news about flight AF447 going missing seemed to touch everyone here in Rio, either directly or indirectly.
Ana knew a journalist on that plane. A director of the company Matt works for was also on it. And I had a strong sense of 'There but for the Grace of God go I'
So it was in a very sombre mood I went to Tupyara Temple yesterday morning with Ana - but as it turned out it was the very best thing I could have done.
Tupyara is right in the middle of Rio, up a tiny back street. In fact if you didn't know it was there you would have trouble finding it. From the outside it looks a bit like a hospital (as it does on the inside as I was to find out), its a very tall building with lots of steps leading up to the entrance which leads into the main hall which is huge. Its like a small aircraft hangar with a curved corrugated iron roof. The walls are painted pale blue and have pictures of the saints and Jesus and Mary hanging on them. There are rows and rows of wooden benches and then at the front a large altar with a statue of Christ on it. It does feel very much like a church. In fact the atmosphere there is what strikes you immediately, its so serene and calming with lovely music playing gently in the background. Any fears or worries I had were instantly washed away.
Ana and I booked in and received our numbers in the queue to receive healing, 126 and 127, so we knew we had quite a wait ahead of us. But, apart from the hard wooden benches which were pretty unforgiving on your bottom, I was perfectly happy to sit there in that lovely peaceful place.
We were dressed all in white again as were the people who 'work' at Tupyara - the ladies looking very much like nurses with long white dresses on and a small white cap and the men in white trousers and shirts.
The service started with all the people who worked there forming a large circle - there must have been about 50 of them - and saying prayers, singing hymns and preparing themselves for the healing session. All in Portuguese of course but it was wonderful and entrancing to watch. This took about half an hour and then suddenly they all disappeared through a door leading behind the altar and the names of the 'patients' to be healed started to be called out. One by one the patients also disappeared behind the altar and I was quite surprised how quickly the time passed until my name was called. In Portuguese I am 'Jeanie Katereenie' - which is lovely isn't it?
I walked down and took my place sitting just outside the door which leads behind the altar. Ana quickly followed and interpreted what a 'nurse' was telling us in preparation for our healing.
"Have faith, pray for what you wish whilst being healed"....she repeated over and over.
Ana and I were called in by another 'nurse' - the room behind the altar was dark and much bigger than I expected with beds lining both sides, some with patients on with nurses standing by them, some empty. We were sat next to a set of double doors which opened every few minutes or so as another patient was wheeled out on a trolley to be taken to their bed. Everything was very calm and peaceful and I felt completely at ease. A nurse took my shoes, bag and glasses off me and a man in white then said some prayers over me - Im not quite sure what he said but his manner was so caring and compassionate. Then the double doors opened again, another patient was wheeled out and Ana and I were called into the 'operating room'.
Operating room is exactly the right word for it - it was just like a large operating theatre with a table in the middle for the patient to lay on. All the 'nurses/doctors' wore face masks and formed a circle around this table, holding hands as they prayed. But it was very dark in there, the room was lit only by a small greenish light, just enough to see what was happening. Ana went first, climbing onto the table, being covered by a white sheet and then prayed over for about 20 seconds. Then she was lifted off onto a trolley and wheeled out - and it was my turn.
Until the moment I climbed onto the bed and lay down I thought I would be praying for a cure for myself. After all, thats why I came here to Brasil wasn't it? But the moment the circle formed around me from somewhere, I don't know where as it wasn't a conscious decision, I prayed that 'the time I have left to do good for all' The words just jumped into my mind from somewhere.
The prayers around me seemed to go on much longer than for Ana's - I felt a tingling in my toes and fingers for a split second - then I was lifted off the bed, onto a trolley and wheeled out.
The next thing I knew I was waking up on one of the beds with a nice nurse wiping my tears away - I had been crying but goodness knows why, I wasn't sad or frightened.
3 nurses were fussing around me talking to me in Portuguese (despite having been told I didn't understand) and Ana was nowhere to be seen - but I felt they were reassuring me. They kept rubbing my arms and holding my hand. Eventually 2 of them helped me to my feet and led me to another smaller room where Ana was sitting waiting. After a short time in there we left through the door next to the altar - and that was that. I have a bottle of blessed water to drink over the next few days and instructions to pray again next Wednesday night.
Altogether it was an amazing and uplifting experience. I don't know what happened in there but something certainly did. It's hard to describe in words but it was an experience I will never forget.
Why didn't I ask to be cured?
I have no idea - but I do know I asked for the right thing.