I've now been home two weeks and my mom is working to regain her strength. She's sitting in her wheelchair near me as I type.
Many of you prayed for Mom (and me!) during these days. Thank you. They were felt and greatly appreciated. As I've contemplated all that's transpired - all that I've seen and experienced in Europe coupled with my mom going to the brink of death and back, one verse has come to mind.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:24 ESV)Ok, let's just get it out there. This isn't the "happiest" of verses, and why, oh why would that verse come to mind while I was on a European vacation?
If you think about my mom, it's probably obvious. My mom has felt quite "trapped" in her body. She is tired - very tired, and has expressed a deep desire to "go home." Heaven home. But God still has plans for her.
But this verse also occurred to me in Florence, Italy. It was there that I saw the one piece of art out of all that I saw that I'm still thinking about - Michelangelo's David. It is inspiring and, I believe, inspired.
You simply cannot stop looking at it. The longer you look, the more amazed you are at the God who gave Michelangelo such a gift. Until that day in Florence, I didn't know that David is poised here, stone in hand, ready to fight Goliath. That fact added a whole new level of significance for me.
The walkway leading up to David is lined with The Prisoners, half finished sculpted beings that look as though they are trying to escape the slab of stone that imprisons them. We were listening to a free Rick Steves tour of this museum (highly recommend all things Rick) as we made our way toward David. Here's what he said about The Prisoners.
These unfinished figures seem to be fighting to free themselves from the stone. Michelangelo believed the sculptor was a tool of God, not creating but simply revealing the powerful and beautiful figures he put in the marble. Michelangelo’s job was to chip away the excess, to reveal. He needed to be in tune with God’s will, and whenever the spirit came upon him, Michelangelo worked in a frenzy, often for days on end without sleep.
I couldn't help by think that I too, am like The Prisoners, halfway there, waiting to be released, waiting for the ultimate freedom, the ultimate life that will come once I am delivered from my "stone" - my earthly life.
Don't get me wrong. I like my earthly life. But if I believe what the Bible teaches (and I do), then this earthly life pales in comparison to what's coming! Just like The Prisoners (amazing in their own right) paled in comparison to David!
Thank you God and thank you Michelangelo! Joy here and joy there. That's hopeful on every level.
And now, to finish this post, I'll close with a few pictures from my trip. And it was a great trip.
|One more look at David|
|The spot in St. Peters where Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.|
Mary Grace and I studied this at Classical Conversations
|The world under the Colosseum floor where animals and gladiators waited to enter the arena|
|Listening to Rick Steves tell us about the Coloseum|
|Statue of St. Peter in St Peter's. His toe is rubbed smooth from people touching it.|
I touched it.
|Rick Steves told us that if the light was on in that 2nd window on the top floor, the Pope was in his study.|
I really liked imagining him in there studying.
|Michelangelo's grave in Florence|
|Touching the Duomo in Florence|
|I loved the pedestrian/bike crossing sign we saw in Salzburg|
|These silhouettes caught my eye in Munich|
|Dachau Concentration Camp|
|Yes. Never again|
|We were always glad to find wifi|
|We had one of those corner rooms. So picturesque.|
|Clever cleaner names at a store in Lucerne|
|Ended our trip in the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland|