Posts Tagged ‘arts’

So, I have been meaning to put down in words my experience in Pisa, Italy five years ago, but I have never quite got around to it.  Today is the day.

Five years ago, hubby and I went on a dream trip to Italy.  We started in Rome, traveled to Sienna, then Florence, then Venice, and finally back to Rome.  It was ahhhhmazing.

As with any travel (or any good travel anyways), it changed my perspective on a few things in life, but one of my most profound moments was in the Square of Miracles in Pisa.

I’m just going to come out and say it, but I hated Florence.  LOATHED it.  I am not sure why.  I think it was just the fact that it was this hub of spending and tourism, and so many times we were constantly trying to be screwed for money from restaurants or street scammers or whatever.  It’s like that through most of Italy, but I think my jet lag had really kicked in by this phase of our trip, so I was grouchy.  At 2 or 3 in the morning I gave in trying to sleep and trotted down to the concierge to talk about the place.  I really hoped he would have a suggestion on a good place to go.  He suggested that we hop a train to Pisa.

Now, for those that know me, I am COMPLETELY directionally challenged.  No lie.  I get lost everywhere.  I had no idea where Pisa was in relation to where we were (even if I looked on a map).  I thought he was crazy.  I mentioned it to Chad, and we ended up deciding to check it out.

Am I ever glad we did.

Now, laugh at me all you want, but I grew up in suburbia of North America.  I had no concept of what Pisa was.  I kinda visualized it in my head like Paris with a leaning tower instead of an Eiffel Tower.  You can imagine my surprise when we showed up to a small town (population 88,217) .  Everything was only a short walk from everything else.  We started to wander, and it was like a movie, suddenly we turned a corner, and right in front of us was the leaning tower.  In the middle of a field.  It was so surreal.  This icon from movies and television was right there in front of me in real life.

Anyways, I am fast forwarding all the boring stuff now and getting to the meat of this post.

Pisa made me realize how much of a difference people make without even realizing it.  I was reading about it and found that the first stone was laid hundreds of years before it was completed.  That guy who put down the first foundation had NO CLUE what he was starting.  Not even the slightest idea.  There is no way he could possibly grasp the enormity of his work for generations to come.  It made me think about how in our culture, there is often a lack of understanding about the long term of things.  We are so new in North America (or at least in the part I am from).  We can’t possibly contemplate the concept of something taking so long to come to fruition, and even then, it is never really finished.  For us, a century is a long time.  In Pisa, they hadn’t even finished construction at the end of a century. The experience made me rethink how I consider my life.

My life is just one stone.  I am sort of in the middle of construction.  I won’t ever see the beauty of the finished project in this life.  But I know that every time I lay down a piece of goodness, kindness, love that I am changing the architecture.  I know that my humble stones will help to build the big, beautiful outcome.  I grasp that sometimes I may never see past the tiny impact that I am making to what the big picture is, but I don’t need to.  I just need to remain in the knowledge that there is something bigger than me.  Something more than my humble work.  That what I do is a small, but essential, part of the whole.

I look at my four beautiful kids and I can recognize that they are also part of this project, and that I am the result of my parents’ bricks being laid.  I can see the continuation over time more clearly, across generations.  How sometimes we have to take down some broken stones and replace with something better, but we never destroy it all.  There will be artists come into our lives that touch up the original work inside if we let them.  Not change it, just perfect it.

Our projects are ongoing.  They started before we were born, and will continue when we move on to the next life.

And I am so grateful I was given the gift of being a part of it all.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers as I pray for all of you.

In Christ,
Catholic Momma

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