As I watched the sun drift down over rustic stone buildings that had withstood years of economic disasters and uncertainty, in the distance church bells pealed in perfect time to the heartbeat of the people of Barcelona—strong, brave people.
The night before, I heard the cheers of happy Spaniards who celebrated a 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 as my family and I rode on the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona. Upon arrival in Barcelona, the victory of Spain seemed to be accepted as a natural way of life, as though defeat had no part of them.
The next morning we visited the 110 year old Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, that reaches 600,000 people. We toured the hospital as the guests of welcoming hospital officials, while visiting on behalf of National Breast Cancer Foundation and as representatives of MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The hospital hallways were filled with hopeful faces of patients who desperately sought answers to their health needs. We met with dedicated doctors who refused to bow to the defeat of diseases as they worked tirelessly to treat the illnesses of their patients.
Throughout the tour, we could observe the new medical school under construction, with magnificent columns and statues that contrasted the old deteriorating structures, yet the old and new seemed to proudly stand side by side, each claiming their rightful places in history.
The Old Makes Way for the New
What is it about the people of Barcelona that makes them so full of life? They have been called the most sleep-deprived people in Spain, yet they are driven to fill their days and nights pursuing their interests. They stroll the walkway of La Rambla that leads throughout the city with derivatives of dozens of winding streets stuffed with small, charming stores. Night and day the streets are crowded with hundreds of people. One direction of La Rambla leads to the Mediterranean Sea and the other to the mountains.
Seventy degree cool breezes at night from the sea reminded me that back home in Dallas the temperature had climbed to 103 degrees.
Two years earlier, I meandered through those same streets looking for a store that sold Spanish shawls. My sons, Brent and Kevin, were with me at that time and navigated with the help of GPS to the exact store I had read about on the internet. Ten minutes before closing time, I searched through beautiful mounds of lace to uncover a delicate black and gold shawl waiting for me to take it home.
I think the people of Barcelona enjoy living so much that they can’t get enough of it. They linger for hours over meals with family and friends as they sumptuously dine on perfectly seasoned food and some of the most delicious fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and delicacies that I have ever eaten in Europe. I didn’t notice any fast-food except for one hot dog stand in front of a building and ice cream stands wedged between souvenir shops.
I have so much admiration for the people of Barcelona. They draw upon the culture of ancient times while building for their future.
Hope for Your Future
For the 2 ½ million breast cancer survivors that are alive in America today, I want to take you to your present circumstances. Your future may seem frightening and uncertain, yet the undergirding of your strength comes from your faith and family bonding. Keep your hearts strong as you hold onto those things from your past that sustain you while reaching for hope for your future. Joy comes in the morning!
Thought for Today:
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”—Maya Angelou