Day 2: Florence

Where to start?

      I guess thats a good question to ask yourself on a trip like this, well for that matter any day. What I continue to face is the huge cloud thoughts and ideas that truly overwhelm yet exhilarate me. Second day in and its still not truly hitting me that I'm in Italy.

      Yeah I guess, there are good arguments for why I am in Italy, or why I should feel like I am. Arguments like, the architecture, the ancient buildings, the cobblestone streets, the tiny cars, the narrow roads, the Italian language, the Italian people, the comments about "those americanos," the walking everywhere, the incredible museums, the even more incredible art, and food are all very good arguments. I agree that they should strike me down a bit and remind me I'm in Italy...BUT they haven't done that...ok I lied they have sort of. I'm still stunned to be here. Florence is incredibly beautiful, friendly, regal yet relatable, and best of all artistic.

       The art today was the focus. Visiting churches and walking around more of the city was incredible, but the most impactful and to be honest dumbfounding was the visit to the Ufizi Museo and the Academia Museo. Homes of some of the most spectacular art in the world. To be within a breath of pieces by Michelangelo, or Botticelli or Cimabue was an experience I am scared I haven't let impact me fully though I did all I could to soak it all it.

One moment that particularly stood out in my mind was even within the first few steps into the galleries. I walk in and after being met with Giotto's Madonna Enthroned turning to see his master's same piece. It hit me. The size first hit me, the 12 feet of holy dedicated art. Secondly the beauty of the piece. It caught my breath, and the first thought I had was what would it have been like to enter into a church like this and be greeted by that. I could only stand and thank God for an experience such as that. I kept praying without words, I guess thats the only way to describe it. A piece dedicated to God and something I could definitely worship to. It was incredible. The rest of the museum followed in like as well. It was one overwhelming piece of art after another.
      It definitely focused me on how incredible the gifts of God are, but it more reminded me of how much God expected out of me. To use our gifts, to work on the, to perfect them and hand them back is our calling, and the museum''s ability to leave me stunned by the great masters did a good job of speaking as an instrument to me for the purpose of refocus and praise. It's definitely daunting, and easily distracted from when I think about these pieces have survived up to 800 years, and they still are some of the best.. I'm getting frustrated trying to put it all into words. I should also note, just for fun, seeing Michelangelo's David, was a blast.
      I think though that I need to keep perspective, I know in writing right now I can get carried down another train of thought, and I know I have already but I need to remind myself of one thing. To be holistic in perspective. I am being thrown into moments where I must engage the culture, not just "tour" it. I find myself getting frustrated at my own inability sometimes to recall words, and the truth is I just need to work at language more.
      God though is truly awesome, he continues to provide, care, ease, and strengthen me. I know my flexibility with situations and my willingness to do new things can only come from Him. I'm tired, and going to bed, but tomorrow I get a whole new location to explore and enjoy, and I pray that God will not just let this simply be an enjoyable trip, but an enriching, perspective growing, gift building, and appreciation growing chance.