I was one of over three million people that all desperately wanted to see two things a few weeks ago in Rio: the Pope, and an empty porta-potty. I learned patience and that even with all the chaos surrounding his celebrity status, Pope Francis is most definitely awesome--he is truly for the people, regardless of faith, sexuality, or socio-economic status. Many religious leaders are 'rebellious', but few do it with such grace and genuineness.
It was quite amazing to hear the Pope speak to such a huge crowd in so many different languages! The events were massive and I'm really thankful to have experienced such a world event. I met people from all around the globe, of different walks of life with a common belief in faith, hope and love. Regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), it's hard to deny the truth of a common human experience, rooted in a desire to help others and spread joy. For such a complicated institution--Catholicism--it seemed to really ground everyone involved. The crowds blocked streets, took up the entire beach, chocked up every nearby business and the events were broadcast live, blasting in all the bar and restaurant televisions surrounding Copacabana. And yet, every single person on that beach, whether a native of Rio or a pilgrim that traveled around the world for the event, was down-to-earth gracious and extremely hospitable, showing that you can really make room in your heart for anything, anyone, anywhere.
When my sister and I couldn't find a place to sleep on the beach, it was the Argentinian camp that graciously made space for us, even after their trenches had been ruined and they were already losing space to other groups. I didn't realize until later how proud they must have been to have an Argentine-born up on the pristine stage, speaking to the entire world.
I also couldn't help but wonder where Papa Francisco went to the restroom. And how long he had to wait.