Thursday, 4 August 2011

It has been a wonderful week in Rome. Tuscany, Sistine chapel, colosseum, ruins, Trevi fountain. All incredible sites and older than anything in the states by hundreds of years. The Romans did everything large, my kind of people. i find myself super energized by this place.

Unlike the Italian countryside we saw on Tuesday, most of the areas we've visited in the city of Rome are full of tourists and the kinds of things that accompany these hot spots in any city - crowds, long lines, cheap trinket gift shops, pan handlers and relentless street vendors. But our enthusiasm challenges us to push past these minor annoyances to see the rich, historic treasures all around us. What I love about it all is the way the old sits solidly in the heart of the new.

In the center of the bustle of city traffic sits the Colosseum. The date carved into the wall reads, Anno VII. Trekking past trendy Italian shops, our feet step on cobble stones more than two thousand years old. Pastel colored scooters zip past us as we stand at the base of huge Roman columns in front of the Pantheon built around 118 A.D. I look at the centuries old marble still standing and think of the much newer brick building in my Atlanta neighborhood, recently reduced to a pile of rubble after comparatively short years of decay.

We wander these streets, looking at the old juxtaposed with the new and wonder how the fruit of our lives will fare. What will crumble? What will last? On the streets of Rome I am sobered and inspired.

Sunday, 31 July 2011


Donna and I love to write together and we will keep the tradition going this year on our travels. We see things quite differently sometime so you can count on me to give you the better view of things:) pictures will follow as well. We arrived early Saturday morning and sleep for a few hours before hitting the city.

This year our travels have taken us to Rome Italy. Our apartment is just a block away from St Peter's Basilica. We are immersed in the rich sacred culture of the church. Stores close on Sunday. Statues, crosses and monuments abound. We walked into the cathedral and I was immediately moved by the beauty of the artistry, again reminded of why the artistic gifts were given - to glorify God. The swirl of languages around me whisper prayers and I hear God's diversity, see His face in shades of tan, caramel, pink and brown. He sings through the pipes of the organ and the voices that blend in harmony from the choir - Latin and Italian, chorus and chant. This is why we travel, to see and experience God in new places and faces, to be lifted out of the grind of the everyday ordinary and reminded of the miracle that is this life.

Growing up going to catholic school and weekly mass made today's time at the vatican seem to connect deeply within. The incense, the chants, the robes and communion all connected in a way that made me feel like part of knowing Jesus is to become part of something much larger than myself, the overwhelming sense of God in a place that has been offering worship to Him for centuries is quite cool. The character of this old city speaks as you wander through the streets and encounter history at every turn.