We’re still alive, and we’re in Italy! Expected a border crossing hassle, no such thing – discovered we were in Italy because the road signs changed from French to Italian. European Union? I don’t know much about this stuff. but Italy is different than France, for sure. The first rest-stop had a totally different energy. And things are not quite as quaint; crappy ramshackle building clutter the beautiful his and mountains. Unlike France, wifi is rare here (at least in the cities and towns we’ve been to so far), and neither of us speak Italian, so getting around is much more challenging. The pressure cooker is heating up.
Of course, the real trek is what’s going on inside – the journey of our hearts. So, so much is going on… I’m starving for time. I need a solid day solo to even begin to open things up, look inside, reflect on the meaning and write. We’ve had brand new, mysterious experience of following direction via “revelation” in Le Baroux (where Michelle almost became a nun) that’s a blog post in itself, and we’re struggling with deep, foundational personal and family issues as we drive into the unknown: Nice, Cannes, and Genova. Issues of the heart are arising, and – as difficult as they are – we’re awake, engaged, and facing them (now, I’m not talking all the time – at the moment, Michelle and I are barely speaking, but these times are getting shorter and shorter as we learn how to be simultaneously safe and vulnerable).
As for me… my life has seen seriously “disrupted” by this trip in general and the current circumstances in particular. We’re together 24/7, in close quarters – either in our van or in hotel rooms and restaurants, further isolated and forced together by our inability to communicate easily with everyone around us. We’re in desperate need of clean clothes; I’ve just washed some socks and undies by hand in a sink, and they’re drying on the dashboard. We’re hemorrhaging money, or at least it feels like we are. Some issues have come up back home with insurance, cars, etc. – stuff I didn’t tie up well before we left. Some key accommodation plans have fallen through, and for two nights in a row we were driving around late into the night trying to find a place to stay (last night till 2:30am!). I’ve been eating poorly. And drinking too much coffee. Exercise has been sporadic. Roads are impossibly tight and winding, and driving a big van full of restless kids takes 110% of our focus and energy. It’s been… hard. And real.
On the other hand, God is really showing up, and my dependence on Him is growing. Things we’ve wanted for years are really here; family meals nightly, deeply engaged with and depending on each other (instead of neighbors, etc.), visiting holy and grace-filled sites, exploring the world and different cultures, and in general getting “unstuck”. We’re living off the conveyor belt. Taking the red pill (click here for the Matrix “red pill” scene). Life disrupted. Paradigms shifted. And it’s been…. Good. Real good.