I had the amazing blessing and privilege of traveling to Italy with my dear friend Jessie and her family. Here are my Italy memoirs. As they happened. With only some points embellished to keep life interesting. All of the characters are real, so if they resemble someone you know, it’s probably them.
It is 2am where I am going. And 8pm where I was. And if the Atlantic could tell time it would be o’dark thirty.
I’m in the emotional state of a 5 year old the night before Christmas – too excited too sleep. But the logical mentality of a 24 year old who knows if she doesn’t sleep she’s going to hate herself in Italy’s morning and America’s middle of the night.
Regardless, as usual, my emotions will probably get the better of me (I’m a work in progress).
We arrived to our layover in Germany, stood in a huge line through customs, and then just on the other side of customs we were greeted by a huge welcome sign that read: “HOT FOOD. COLD BEER”, I kid you not.
As we had disembarked the plane, our flight attendant had said “Auf Wiedersehen”. Which got Jessie singing The Sound of Music soundtrack.
“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight.”
Apparently, once you get going with The Sound of Music songs its hard to stop. So we wandered the Frankfurt airport singing “High on a hill was a lonely goat, Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay her hoo, Loud was the voice of the lonely goat, Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo” and laughing hysterically.
When we finally arrived in Rome, it was breathtaking and amazing, but I still hadn’t slept so even now it is a blur. We arrived at our hotel and sat in their courtyard while they prepared our food. I got a cappuccino and a chocolate, flakey, deliciousness, yummy thing.
The courtyard was in a cavern of white buildings. We were sitting at a table covered in stark, sharp white linens. The place settings were perfectly polished silver, as was the tea set placed neatly on the table. The sun was beaming. Pouring down on us as if that particular courtyard was the only place in need of sunshine that day. The way the sun was bouncing off everything was blinding.
Literally stunning. The type of sunshine that makes your eyes water.
As I sat in Rome, indulging in a cappuccino, half asleep, blinded by sun, I couldn’t help but think about glory.
Blazing glory. Glory so rich and extreme that it’s blinding. Glory that overwhelms you in painful way – a way that brings tears to your eyes. Where you want to fall face down before it all.
Like Moses standing before God, asking to see His glory in one of my favorite chunks of scripture.
14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said,“I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
Without You I won’t go. Please show me your glory. Cover me with your hand as your glory passes by – so I can feel it and live through it, but be protected Your blazing glory.
I don’t want to live anywhere His presence is not. I want to recognize His glory for what it is. I want it to leave me blinded and humbled. I want to fall face down as it passes by. And then I want to chase after it. I want to live so close to His glory I can feel it.
Later that night we saw the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona. Some of the most gorgeous man made structures I have ever seen. The kinds of things that leave you speechless, even if just for a moment.
But as gorgeous as those things are, my heart knows they are nothing compared to the glory my heart has seen in Christ. That there are things my heart has seen and felt that tell a story of unmatched glory – the blinding, eternal glory that only comes from the King of Kings.