Looking at my Face Book Memories this morning that popped up, made me just take a minute to sit and reflect over the last few years. Two years ago, Randy and I stepped onto a plane in North Carolina headed to Italy. It was a trip we had, for years, thought about, once even planned some of the necessary items, such as lodging, only to have to cancel due to some circumstances. But, there we were, one year year later, actually sitting on the plane, looking and smiling at each other, and thinking, about what we were about to experience. Of course, you never know all the things you will experience. That is half the fun. Not knowing every thing that will happen. But anticipating each and every adventure. We know that many of you were thinking, ‘what in the world are they doing at their age and what will happen if they fall or get a wallet stolen, or get so lost, they don’t know where they are, etc.” Well, each of those things did happen, but in each experience, we knew that God was watching over us and took care of every detail.
And when the necessary things fell upon us, such as the person who helped us get back where we needed to be at 10:00 p.m. in Rome, when Randy was pick pocketed on the bus we rode numerous times and when I fell getting off the train, each time, we knew that the Lord was right there.
So today, as I looked at the memory on FB and thought back about those most wonderful 3 months of getting to live our dream trip, it was just so precious to me to remember so many days and nights in Italy. Memories that we will never forget, nor take for granted. It is so interesting to me that 7 months after leaving Italy, it was shut down, due to Covid. Now, two years later, I’m not sure we would have attempted doing what we did. Because of some health issues, we might not be as “brave” as we were two years ago in attempting to do what we did. It is so awesome to remember being able to throw our 5 suitcases onto the train in between hoards of folks trying to get on. Riding the unairconditioned train to Sorrento with bees swirling around our heads, having to stand for a 2 hour train ride to Sorrento. Now, two years later, I get exhausted unpacking boxes to move in to our new home.
Two weeks ago, I had to quit carrying items down 3 flights of stairs, trying to help my daughter move. Two years ago, we were hauling 5 suitcases up 5 flights of stairs into our “home” and then going back out to eat and then having to return to said apartment several times a day. We found out that that saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” is certainly true. We came home several pounds lighter, only to begin immediately chomping down on Mexican food which, of course, put the pounds back on. As long as we were there, we walked so much, we ate anything we wanted and still lost weight. Today, we are truly able to say, our weight is not because we eat too much, it is because we drive everywhere. At least that is my story and I’m sticking to it.
We got to experience going to a Baptist church in Rome several times and worship with people there from all over the world. We had the fun experience of being a “tour” guide for some friends who came to visit us while we were there, making us feel like we were so cool and hip, getting to show them that we knew how to get around Florence. We learned the bus system and what to do when we would get on the wrong bus. We experienced some fear when one evening, we did get off a bus before we were suppose to only to find ourselves walking in a neighborhood that we knew nothing about, our cell didn’t work and we had no idea how to call anyone to come rescue us and take us to where we were suppose to be. We experienced walking the streets of Florence trying to locate the store where Randy had left his passport while buying an Italian phone. There was the memories of trying to read Italian when no English word was anywhere in sight and we had no idea what bus stop to get off.
But we not only survived, we grew. We grew not only in terms of having to get out of our comfort zones and realize that no matter where we were, God was there. Sometimes, I feel that we, as Americans, we tend to think that God is just here and forget that God is truly God. He is Omnipresence, He truly is everywhere. There is no where any of us can go that He is not there. He is not only in America, but in every country of the world. We saw Him, on that awful train ride to Sorrento, when street musicians came aboard and began to play, allowing us to focus on them, and not the fact that we had to stand on a old bumpy train for 2 hours. We saw Him on the street which we finally found Randy’s passport. The man who spoke not a word of English, had saved it for us, knowing we would be back. We felt His presence, not only in many accents, singing and worshiping together in that church in Rome, but in the precious acceptance and help from people trying to assist us in grocery stores, drug stores and standing on streets, looking at maps, trying to decide which way to go. There were days when, we looked at the most beautiful blue waters of the Bay of Naples, driving by gorgeous vineyards around Tuscany, the cobbled streets of small villages, the hills and cypress trees which we saw as the train speed by. The waters and canals of Venice were something to behold.
Yes, today, we have so much to remember and so much to be thankful for. We know that, even now, in our home on a small street in Frisco, TX we not only have these wonderful memories, but we know that God is here, in this place, giving us new dreams and desires that continually bring hope and assurance that……dreams can and do come true!
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your Hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalms 37….”trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.