Cherry and I discovered Italy together. Before October 1984, we both knew where Italy was on the map but there was nothing which tied us to the country. My recollections were of brief but great visits as a child, Cherry had nothing on file. On our first visit we found ourselves discovering new friends, culture, and creating fantastic memories which still travel with us. Everything was fresh, wonderful, and an adventure. When we left, we spoke of our desire to return but a generation has come without fulfilling our promise made long ago. This past weekend filled the gap.
I find myself already treasuring the memories of great sights, vistas, and food. I am already looking forward to the stories Carli and Whitney will tell from their next visit to the haunts of this weekend. I’m sure they will be different yet their story began last Thursday just as our story with Italy began years ago. Every memory has a birth. Rarely does it begin with the event itself. Often it rests in our history, experiences of yesterday shaping our views of today.
I wonder what new stories will come of the recent past. The values and priorities I hold close to my heart have changed their shape because of my experience in England. I know that I am richer for it. I find myself willing to give of whatever others find useful. Perhaps this is the best a story can be; willingly experience, freely shared. The test of its usefulness is the extent it nurtures life towards the Divine. No story stands completely on its own; it comes with people, sights, sounds, and relationship. Inevitably with time the junk fades, leaving one with jewels to be treasured, retold, and relived.
I know the story continues. It is as if now that I am moving on, “I'm saying these things in the world's hearing so my people [those close to my heart] can experience my joy [hope] completed in them.” (John 17.13)
Today begins a new chapter; may it be filled with mercy, love, and compassion.
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