One week back and a LOT has changed. I was not expecting some of it but I am glad to be home and I am glad God is doing good things in my life. As I reflect on my five weeks of travel through Italy and Albania I am so blessed to have memories of deep and meaningful conversations, new experiences which help me to see the world in a different light, the great excitement of new friendships and the blessed presence of God in and through it all.
Being a planner, and admittedly a little bit too much of a planner, I am quickly changing from one event to the next. I returned from my travels eager to dive into work at the church and ready to move into the next year of my life--my last year of Seminary. I have realized that I needed to slow down a little bit more, note the difference between the place I live now and the places I had called home over the past five weeks. I was almost too eager to sleep in my own bed that I had forgotten too soon the hospitality I was shown in Italy and Albania. It makes me wonder why I am so comfortable isolating myself in my own apartment rather than appreciating the generosity and warmth of strangers-made-friends in Italy and Albania. Now, I'm not ready to give up my bed, window screens, a microwaves, Trader Joe's, my car, air conditioning, almond butter or many of the other comforts and luxuries of my life here in California but I am at a place of trying to reflect and see God in and through it all.
I don't want to loose sight of the God I met and experienced in the Medieval World of Italy and on the streets of Albania. I don't want to get so caught up in the traffic, billboards, amenities and chaos of LA that I forget the peaceful walks I had in Erseke, or the streets of Rome marked by history, theology, art and hand crafted relics. I want to spend time over the next few weeks making those connections. Marking the similarities and the differences and sharing stories of my experiences, if you will listen. I hear that the best way to remember something is to tell someone else about it... I'm going to give that a try.