When does one day turn into three?
When you spend half of it traveling all over Italy. Today will go down as possibly the most hardtorememberitwasonlyoneday...day. From early starts, to a super late evening; getting in just 30 minutes ago. Its a day of regrets, but of so many opportunities given and thoroughly enjoyed.
Today we visited The leaning tower of Pisa, which was really cool tons of fun, but definitely a tourist trap...AND the incredibly beautiful villages of Cinque Terre (also a big tourist spot). Like When I say it was beautiful it was beautiful. Google it, because I currently haven't edited any of pictures from it, so I can't show you quite yet (I'll update this post when I do with at least one). Talk about an incredible place to take in the Mediterranean. If I had to choose one place I definitely under appreciated scenery wise...this would be it. I loved every minute of it, don't get me wrong, but I definitely needed to slow down and soak it in more.
You know those times when you have a list, you have goals, and you have drive and only a day to accomplish your said, "need to do list." Well that was today. Firstly, I have to take a critical look at myself. I wanted photos, and I didn't enjoy the area as much as I know I could, because I was in that photo mode. Also 5 villages in a day trip, plus hiking= a logistical nightmare for a OCD guy like me who wants to do it all in a good way.
Now on the bright side, of life (song I sang during the hike), I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Despite those downsides, God definitely was showing me his art. It was remarkable watching the ground rise and jut out of the sea filling themselves with vineyards and small villages. The colors were astounding, and it left me all in a state of awe when I did have those moments
Now for the song explanation, and a warning for anyone that venture to Cinque Terre... Don't hike between the 5 village and the 4th unprepared!!!!...seriously me and a couple other guys nearly died from heat stroke..died...like dead and crisping in the sun. I have never been so exhausted from any hike in my life, and I hopefully humbly can consider myself a fairly active and in shape man. We started up the stairs...It was a lot of up and a not a lot of forward...To paint a visual picture: sand and hard jagged, rarely smooth stones attempting to be steps, roughly 1 to 2 feet wide sometimes with room to wander other times with room to fall your death through brush and trees to the rocky shores below. Also it roughly 2 hours of hiking, and moving... no breaks besides the 1 minute kind to catch our breathes. Up and down..so many times. Ok I doubt that painted the picture but again I'll try and post a picture so you can understand the area, or the size of the hike.
So why was this so important? Besides it being two hours I stretched me. The three of us were so drained, we sweated through all our clothes. we were shaking at the knees, losing vision and hating our collective selves or ever deciding we'd hike to the previous village for fun. ALSO its important because it taught me I guess a bit of a hopefully not so cliche metaphorical idea. The idea of life's journey. Not to go too long on that, but it really put into perspective and reminded me how easy it is to loose sight of the big picture, The coast line and the gorgeous blue water, and get caught up in the hard points, the jagged areas, and the pitfalls. Again I am glad you weren't there to listen to us, we had to drive out adrenaline onwards through agression and anger at this hike. Yes, probably not the best idea.
One other thing it did, which was possibly just a cry knowing what my mindset should be, or a sign that it was were it should be. I felt like leaned on God a ton on that hike. I listened, I talked, I prayed.... "help." and I just kept letting the Holy Spirit remind me of the beauty I was missing or could be missing around me. The hike was a valley experience and I'm so glad to say I conquered it, the three of us were the only ones. Thank you God I'm alive.
Before I close, I thought this would be my only thing to talk about, but tonight I felt like I was in Vegas again. The train ride back was something else. Long tiring and on the last leg draining...or maybe revealing..or maybe saddening. After all day at the villages we go to get back to Florence, and we get on our last train, and its 11...which means the so called, low lives, the drunks, the prostitutes, the angry, the evil....they were surrounding us in a very tight small two car train. When I said the so called.. definitely not what I thought and saw. Next to me as I stood was a girl, a broken girl, a very broken girl who definitely held herself..or lack of that..as a prostitute.
It broke my heart, and all I wanted to do was bend done onto my knees and ask what I could do for her, that God loves her, that she is beautiful not because of how she looks. I know those were all impractical means, so I prayed.. I prayed a lot for her and it was heartbreaking yet revealing even in myself. I don't know if this was the right way to look at it, some would argue I should have tried and talk to her, but I don't know. Maybe I was too scared, nervous, or simply selfish at the possibility of it not turning out how I "hope/daydream" it would. I'm still praying and thinking through all that, but the truth is I just prayed, which I know is more powerful than anything I could do alone.
Besides that there were the crazies, the those so lost mentally or simply emotionally they were in a drunken stooper.. There were the lost looking for something "fun....girls" or just something to numb them.. I could see it in their eyes, and It hurt, the men were broken and no longer men, and the girls were that as well. It was a ride that broke my heart, and definitely revealed a tear of Christ. I hate trying to write this so tired, and while my mind is a blur. But, I'm trying. I want to let you know though, always pray.
Today I did it a lot and God definitely gave me moments...maybe to interact and be more than eyes, but at least be eyes in....I'm still working through that back and forth. Thank you for those praying, and especially you who is praying for my eyes to be open and for God to teach and use me. Tonight's train ride was a moment where I just felt the brokenness of this world, and realized how beautiful God is for what he has done. It drained a lot of the others more than they already were, I saw it on their faces, and I know it drained me. Yet, I have this sense that comes and goes, and right now its growing again...that God has a big plan I must figure out, and I pray that I do and am open and willing to take each step towards it... I am a part of his body for however long I'm here on this earth.
And, now that I'm starting to Babble, I hope you've made it this far, I thank you, and will say goodnight, because it is late here and as you can tell a lot physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually has happened.