Before I get back to school and the next debrief on YWAM – a few observations on the day. I visited the Colosseum in 2017 with my church, Canyon Hills Community Church, on a short-term mission near Bari. We spent one day in Rome and I remember the Colosseum as being biggest thing I have ever seen. Today I had the pleasure of revisiting. In the summer it had been 93 degrees. Today, in early spring, it was 62 – wardrobe change! I remember returning to the states two days later with purple legs. Let me explain. We had run from the Colosseum to the Vatican (remember – doing everything in one day). I was 20+ years older than my compadres and keeping up the pace was not easy. It is a distance of 3.6 KM or 2.2 miles. We pounded the pavement in the heat. By the next day my legs had turned purple. I had never broken capillaries before but it will turn your legs purple. It was still a magical day and why I wanted to revisit. I cannot tell you how many football fields would fit in the Colosseum but it was still smaller than I remembered. Time expands our stories. I think it is human nature to “aggrandize” the past and make it bigger and better than it actually was – “the good ‘ole days”! It isn’t honest, however.
Being cool, I found a sunny spot and thought and prayed about martyrs. I keep reading the consequences of believing in Jesus in scripture. I don’t understand killing anyone because they choose to think differently from me. Why is consensus so important to humans? I like it when people affirm me but my ideas do not depend upon it. I have experienced disapproval recently that I will never agree with. I am not a follower and am honest on that. Pressure does not affect me as much as it should? So I stayed in the sun thinking about God’s Son who died for me. I don’t die daily because I sin but I don’t think I should go to dangerous places where Christians are murdered for their beliefs. God can work on me but today that is where I stand. If people disapprove of me I think of the letters of John. If you can’t love the person in front of you (especially over something as inconsequential as money) how can you go to the ends of the earth because you love people?
Random observations from today, and my time in Europe, remind me that I prefer the familiar. US ways are not better but I have lived with those ways for a long time. In Europe I miss seat covers in the commode. It is untrue that Italians wrap their pasta in a tablespoon because I have never once been given a tablespoon in an Italian restaurant. Americans are, generally, better and kinder drivers. We are taller than Italians and Albanians but I looked Swiss enough that, if I didn’t speak, I felt accepted. It is true that wearing a tummy pack announces to the world that you are a tourist. I can’t help myself because a tummy pack is secure and keeps me organized. Shame on Howard Schultz. This morning I got a cappuccino and croissant, total 2.5 euros. I walked a different way when I arrived and paid 6 euros – so – shame on shopkeepers who do not post pricing and then “size you up”. I will always wish for big showers. I will always wish to not share showers with twelve other people! I love the smiles of all people. My ancestry is 100% western European so I better not complain because these are my people. Because European countries are so near each other there are more similarities than one might expect. I don’t think I have any ethnic prejudices but last night I dipped into a restaurant desperately needing to use the rest room. I did need supper so ordered then waited for the longest time. A parade of very large ethnic ladies lined up for the same purpose. There were about 12 ladies and, by the time I was able to use the facilities I was mad, impatient, and grossed out. There are several things wrong with this picture and I need to work on some things. I am proud to be an American and proud of my heritage. I am more outspoken than I care to be because I am an American. Maybe this will all turn out well and God will use this boldness and I will be closer to my original design AND closer to the path God has in mind for my next season.