After completing a 15 day trip through Europe, including 5 days in Rome, I feel like I’ve learned a few things. Not just about the sights that I saw or the places I visited, but about myself and how I fit into the world in general. And also about my photographic skill, but I’ll get to that later!
I visited Rome in 2016 because it is a Jubilee Year, dedicated to mercy and assistance. I am a volunteer at a number of different organizations in my area, so this seemed like my year! Pilgrims are invited to visit Rome and all four of the major basilicas there (St Peters, St Paul Outside the Walls, San Giovanni Laterno, and Santa Maria Maggiore) Each of this basilicas has a set of Holy Doors that are only open for entrance during a Jubilee year. My goal was to enter each of these Holy Doors. And I’m proud to say that I accomplished just that!
One of the things that I learned while I walked through each of these bronze doors, each about nine feet high and sculpted and cast to beautifully represent the tenants of the church, is that although the world is big, and I am small, I play an important part in it. These beautiful doors dwarfed and daunted me, but made me realize that everyone that entered was small, like me. But together, we amounted to much more than we did individually. Together, we are big, and we are powerful, and we are a force and an energy to be reckoned with. Everyone who does what they feel is right becomes part of the bigger, just community. The small drops of water will wear away the stone, given enough time and patience. Sitting in a large and beautiful basilica, which had been there since 5AD, I was almost overwhelmed with how amazing the world can be, and how it’s been here for thousands of years, and will continue for thousands of years (hopefully!) It was such a peaceful feeling to know that I am part of a larger whole, I almost cannot describe it with words.
So, of course, I tried for some photos to capture the moment. And here’s where I learned that I am not very good at taking selfies! Behold my example:
In my defense, I was trying hard to get the magnificent altar behind me centered in the picture. I am rather amused at the concentration on my face, and the somewhat petrified look that it produced. I laugh at this selfie all the time, and I use it to show my friends that I really am not very good at this! And that’s OK…I definitely tried, and I will continue to try as I traverse this great big world we live in.
One of the other things that amaze me is the detail in every area here. Take a look at the floor – they were lovely tile mosaics that have been there for over a thousand years. So lovely and so amazing, I cannot even picture how long of a time period a thousand years is. I am always amazed, and humbled, at this great big beautiful world that we live in, along with all its inhabitants, both past and present.
Look for more posts on my European adventure coming up soon. I visited Iceland, London, Rome, and Krakow between April and May, 2016. Some beautiful stuff out there…definitely want to take advantage of the opportunity to see everything that we can! Until next time, friends, Travel Joyful!