It’s just 2 weeks away. 2 weeks until I am re-united with the piece of my heart that I left in another city 750 days ago. In just 14 days, my heart will be made whole, as I return to one of my homes: Rome, Italy. It’s hard to believe that just over 2 years ago I was sitting on the terrace of my Bernardi home, writing the words, “What more can I ask for at this moment? I’m in Rome, sitting on the terrace, sun shining and here straight ahead of me, is my favorite place in the whole entire world. Vatican City!”
One might say that I am very blessed to be able to return to Rome after only 2 years of leaving it. Of course, I know this is true. But imagine leaving your home, knowing that for the next 24 months you would never return. This adds up to almost 1,000 days of missing the streets where the Saints walked. Missing the sight of St. Peter’s, as you walk from the train station to your favorite gelateria. Missing the sound of the fountains which so beautifully identify each piazza.
Yes, it’s been almost 1,000 days since I’ve been back home-but I do know that I am blessed.
This trip originally began as a trip to England to visit my friend and her newborn baby. It then grew into a trip which would conclude with spending a few days in Ireland with a dear friend who will soon be moving halfway across the world. I couldn’t, in good conscience, travel all the way to Europe and not say hello to St. Peter’s. It would be like visiting the home-town of a friend and not telling them you were passing through. Standing beside the obelisk in St. Peter’s square-the last piece of architecture which St. Peter laid his eyes on as he was crucified upside down…standing near this monument while gazing at the vast Basilica which stands above the bones of our first Pope…that is the last place where I allowed my heart to allow a piece to break off. The last place where I knew, without a doubt, would be a worthwhile place to let it go.
So to Europe I return. But when I go to the airport and I tell them I am going for “leisure” I realize that this is the most superficial way to describe a pilgrimage-and this is what I desire-for this trip to be. A pilgrimage. For a few days, I’ll have the Eternal City before me, with no strict agenda attached to it. Rather, I hope to visit the favorite Churches, Chapels, and landmarks of my friends. Please let me know if there is a specific place where you would like me to pray for you in-because the last thing I want this trip to be is one of merely selfish gain.