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.
Day 2, I napped, I ate pasta, I saw the Trevi Fountain, I hiked the Spanish stairs, I stood in awe of the Pantheon, I meandered through the street vendors at Piazza de Navona and I ate gelato.
Jessie described day 2 the best, she said “Don’t you just love all the textures?”
That’s it. Rome is smooth and stubbly. Rugged and slippery. Ruined and brand spanking new. Ancient and fresh. Rock solid and babbling water. Tiny flowers and towering trees. Blazing hot and cold as gelato.
I felt like every little thing I saw I wanted to press my cheek against so I could feel the texture. Not just touch it with my de-sensitized calloused hands, but feel it with baby skin, like a tiny human taking it all in for the first time.
Rome is a city that heightens your senses and magnifies everything. As I Rome-d about, taking in every tiny detail, I began to wonder about the textures in my own life, and in my own world. The things I easily glaze over because they are common…and because if I am honest, I take too much for granted.
I sometimes miss the stubbly and smooth parts of my life. The rugged and slippery. The ruined and the brand new. The ancient and the fresh. Unless I stub my toe on it, I’m prone to walk past it.
But the worst part of that isn’t that I miss texture, it’s that I miss what the Lord has for me within those textures he’s scattered all over my story.
I’m busy. I’m married, I have two dogs, a full time job and a part time job, too much laundry, and if I am in an extra sassy mood I’ll tell you I have a hundred plus kids (High school students + middle school students + the Little Women ministry). I’ve got my hands full and too much on my plate.
But everyone does.
And I don’t want busyness (or my sassy-ness) or doing good things become a distraction for missing the things the Lord would not have me miss.
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
“Be careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:15-16
In some ways I feel like my soul is learning a lesson most people learn when they are late in life or facing a life-threatening illness – I’m feeling conviction over the things I miss, and moments I get so caught up in that are fleeting. The things I allow priority positions in my life over the things the Lord would have be my priorities. The good things I get distracted by at the expense of the Godly things.
Clearly, I don’t want to be the person in tears every time I see a butterfly.
But I do want to be the person who spends a few moments in awe of the fact that Monarch Butterflies migrate from Canada to Mexico and back again. And on top of that, it takes multiple generations to make that complete trip – their life span simply isn’t long enough. And perhaps most wonderfully of all, that lots of the butterflies are never are seen by human eyes, they are for God alone. A God who would make something so beautiful just for His pleasure is awe-inspiring.
I want to marvel at the God who gave someone the brain power to create the Colosseum and have it last for thousands of years. The God who gave someone the wisdom to build the Pantheon in a way that endures. All the while I can’t even build a cabin with Lincoln Logs.
I want to be the person who savors the sips of warm tea with milk and sugar – thankful that brown sugar is so much more rich in tea than white sugar. I want to be the person who pauses every morning when I walk out the door to look at the birds on my bird feeder. The person who misses coincidences because I choose to seem them as God-orchestrated miracles. The person who appreciates the shade of the sky and the texture of the clouds. The person who smells the flowers, and takes time to plant more. I want to pause outside long enough to feel the sun kiss my nose…
Every moment, every second. I don’t want to miss one single thing the Lord has for me.