I never dreamed (or had a nightmare) that when I finally got to see the famous Sistine Chapel, I would remember it more for what happened to pull me away from it than for the amazing artwork I saw inside it.
After spending about 30 minutes in the Sistine Chapel, my artful musings were suddenly interrupted by my teenage daughter, Kari, insisting that she had to find a bathroom–immediately! I thought there must be one close by, because I had seen a sign near the exit with an arrow pointing to restrooms. That’s where I was wrong, and that’s where our adventure (that we really didn’t want to have) began. Thinking we would be right back, we left my husband, Drew, in a rush saying only that we were going to find a bathroom, with no communication about where or when we would meet up. As we hurried out through passageways and then down the endless corridor toward the entrance of the museum, it quickly became apparent that there were no bathrooms close by.
I’m raging in my head. “I’m in Rome, in the Sistine Chapel–THE SISTINE CHAPEL–which I may never see again in my whole life, and we have to find a BATHROOM??!! Right NOW??” About the same time that I realize there are no bathrooms close by, it dawns on me that Drew will likely leave the Sistine Chapel before we return. I am right. I also realize that getting separated in this huge labyrinth of a museum without a way to contact each other is going to be a disaster. We do not have cell phones (except one for calling home) and we do not have a plan, except to go to St. Peter’s Basilica after the museum. After leaving the restroom, I decide that we might find Drew if we just go back to the Sistine Chapel the way we came. Nope. He’s not there and we don’t run into him on the way. We head back to the bathrooms. Not there. (This is a LONG walk, which we have now made 3 times). Back to the Sistine Chapel–AGAIN! Not there. Hey, we have to go return the audioguide–at the OTHER end of the museum–maybe Drew will be there. Good idea, but no, he’s not there. (Found out later he went there, but not at the same time we did). We sit down to think. I’m angry, frustrated, and tired, (so is Kari) and now fear is starting to creep in. I cry. “How are we ever going to find each other?” “What do we do now?”
About 2 hours have passed since we got separated. The museum is about to close. “Well, he must have gone over to St. Peter’s Basilica,” I reason, “because that’s where we were going after the museum.” That place is huge, too. How will we ever find him? Meanwhile, I have been praying all this time to know what to do, and asking for a small miracle. We head to St. Peter’s, believing we will find Drew there–somehow. My prayers are answered after about 5 minutes at St. Peter’s. Drew walks up behind us with a smile and says, “Where have you been?” Relief floods my whole body.
Miracles do happen.