“A million of people flock here every year and Leo doesn’t want public attention affects his pilgrimage. That’s why for years he always comes privately,” the bald round face guide explained. “But it’s interesting that when he chose the date two months ago, and I told him that you had already chose that date, he was enthralled. He decided to do it with you instead of choosing another date! That never happened before.”
I replied with a smile. Then I took my wallet and gave him another three hundred Markas.
“What’s this for?” he was befuddled.
“Extra tip. And for a bucket of warm water and a piece cloth, please,” I said.
The man left, leaving me in a reverie.
Leo has earned the annual Best Player of The World more than anyone else in history, I said to myself. Some say he’s even better than Pele, Maradona, or Beckenbauer. Others say he doesn’t belong to this planet. His dribbling skill is irrefutably miraculous and his shooting accuracy is close to perfect. A game with him in his peak performance is a divine entertainment.
So what makes him so great? Talent? Perhaps.
But if it’s only about talent, there are countless other players who have the same level of talent. Leo is more than pure talent. He loves. Total love.
He loves God. He loves humanity. Playing soccer is a talent he uses to entertain and inspire people in order to serve God. That’s what drives him to reach his fullest potential. That’s what gives the Argentine the energy and makes him stay longer during training. The humble man gives all his heart for the game. He makes his life in soccer a holy mission.
Those who build a gap between holiness and profanity should better look at Leo. Those who say they can only find enlightenment in mosques, churches, temples, or through chanting holy verses or meditations and scorn the worldly experiences as childish illusions do not realize they are making a pompous statement.
The truth is nothing is profane. Everything is holy. When it is meant to serve God as Leo does, even soccer is holy!
I had always been a Germany fan, but I must say Leo’s inspiration moved me five years ago when I decided to dedicate myself to serve humanity through writing. I made a pledge to do with writing what Leo does with soccer. Now that I had reached one of my dreams, I wanted to pay homage to the man.
Interestingly it had to happen here. Here in Medjurgorgje, Herzegovina, in an unprecedented moment in one cloudy day in 2016.
The door was opened. The guide came. He placed a bucket of water and a white cloth on the table.
Then Leo entered the room.
“Thank you for your book,” he said as he saw me, smiling amiably. “I enjoy. My family and friends enjoy. The Spanish translation very good. If real book in English, we are not understand.”
To hear the statement from Leo himself was much better than to receive his card three months ago. I returned his smile and replied, “Pleasure, guapo.”
He then shook my hand and hugged me.
I asked him to have a seat. He did.
I put the cloth in the warm water. Then I kneeled before Leo and took off his shoes and socks.
Closing my eyes, slowly with the cloth I began washing Leo’s feet. I started with the right, and then his magical left foot, inch by inch. Tears were glistening in my eyes as I was doing this.
Done with that, I kissed both his feet. My chest was so light. My feet were on the ground, but my heart kissed Saturn and my hands reached Jupiter. I whispered, “Thank you for the Love and inspiration.”
Leo held my arms and asked me to rise. Like what most Argentinian men would do to a man they love, Leo then kissed my cheeks, left and right, and hugged me so tightly. We were hugging for only God knew how long. Time stood still.
After that he said, “I read your foundations help children in your country in Maluku, Mexico, and Mozambique. I want join and donate.”
“Great!” I was astonished. “We’ll talk more to organize it.”
Leo nodded and we started walking barefoot to the site. Suddenly Leo stopped and said, “You’re not a Catholic, but a Sufi. So why you come to Medjurgorje?”
I replied, “Should one stop being a Sufi just to experience a divine experience that his Catholic fellows dream of having?”
Leo grinned. He placed his right hand on my shoulders.