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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When In Rome


“You don’t need reservations to see the David, I heard there isn’t even a line” said my grandma.
“I heard, if you get reservations the Italians just laugh and ridicule you until you hate yourself so much you don’t even want to see the David.,” adds my father.

“Venice is the nastiest city in the world. I read that they are the number one city for asbestos,” muttered my grandpa. “Oh ya, I heard that too. And I heard that if you touch the water in the water streets you will catch cancer and your soul will whither,” remarked my dad.

“Well I have friends, who have been to Italy 41 times, and they say that going to Rome is a waste of time. Its just filled with old stuff that has all been restored,” said my grandma. “I agree,” interjected my step mom, “in fact, I read in a Rick Steve’s book that the Coliseum is actually just 10 years old and was the original location of the smash hit children’s show The Wiggles.”

“Isn’t the Coliseum where the Titanic sunk?” asked Jordan.

If you ever go to Europe, you are going to have conversations such as these. Everyone is going to give you an opinion on what to do, where to go, and what to eat. While the above conversations are slightly exaggerated, there is no doubt that this is much of what I heard prior to my 13 day trip to Italy.

Thankfully Jordan, Taryn, and I did not heed the advice issued by many of our fellow travelers. We saw Michelangelo’s masterful work, we scooted through the Grand Canal, and we were overwhelmed by the history of martyrdom at the Coliseum.

During one of our many car rides back to Barga (NO ONE ever recommended staying there, by the way), I began to think about all of the advice that had been given to us prior to our trip. I listened to some, ignored others, and googled the questionable. But at the end of the day, there were still decisions to made, risks to take, and salami pizza to eat. It had me thinking…

How often do we live our lives based on the suggestions of others?

How often do the negative words of a third grade teacher, the vocational suggestion of our parents, or the criticisms of our superiors keep us from doing the things our souls desire? I am not foolishly suggesting that we ignore the wise words of others, but that we simply step out and .... try.

It has been said that we are supposed to “walk through open doors” and “listen to the wisdom of our elders”, but have we been paralyzed by these modern clichés? Could it be that we are missing out on the living out of our dreams because we refuse to knock on that “locked door”. Could we be missing the life God has called us to live as we allow the degrading words of others to burrow into our idea of self? Have we allowed American consumerism’s message of safety and security to keep us from simply…trying?

So today, go to Venice. Take a risk. Don’t allow the expectations of “experts” to keep you from…trying.

And oh ya… if you ever go to Italy, don’t stay in Barga and men, always wear a Speedo.

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