Italy and Greece. Last night, anticipating a snow day and enjoying a glass of red wine, I skyped with a friend from L’Abri. It’s been five or six months since we’ve seen each other, but we never considered Skype (probably because I never think of the easy solution to problems), and it was strange to see his face on my computer screen. We were talking because – in joy and excitement – I had messaged him that I would be in Italy and Greece in a few weeks and he should hop on over. Studying in France makes European travel so much easier than living across the pond.
“What?” he said. “You’re just telling me this now?”
I didn’t tell him that I haven’t really been telling anybody. I’ve been holding it close, partly afraid that it isn’t true and partly because I feel I don’t deserve another foray to Europe after my wonderful trip this summer.
My mind has been wrapped up with each new thing that comes, and it’s only now that I’ve been able to think about it.
“I don’t live dates,” I told him, as though this made perfect sense.
“Ummm…?” he said.
I laughed to pause long enough to figure out what I meant.
“I live Mondays and Tuesdays, not January 20th and 21st. So it snuck up on my so fast and now it’s not even two weeks away.”
How is this possible, this trip to Rome and Athens? One of the perks of being a teacher is you get to chaperone school trips. And yes, I mean “get to” because I can’t wait to explore this part of the world, even with students in tow. Maybe, especially with students? There’s a brightness in learning eyes that I love.
I’ll try to take pictures, but I’m terrible at that and I get distracted by everything going on around me.
I’ll try to eat the yummiest foods and buy the prettiest gift for my sister. I’ll try to read Quo Vadis (upon suggestion) to prepare me, but this probably won’t happen. I’ll be swept up on an airplane and whisked across the water.
Airplanes make the world geographically smaller. Skype does the same thing, only from the comfort of your own bed.
Music. Another Joe Purdy song, “Diamond State.” I love his voice. It’s about ice and cold and longing for summer. There are a lot of pauses in this live recording, so find it on Spotify if you want a clear listen.
New dress. I bought a new dress at the mall, and I don’t regret it even a little. It’s simple and chic and I bought it for a YMCA event I’m volunteering at this Friday night. We’re opening our theatre with a performance by a world-renowned opera singer, and in order for me to go, I had to volunteer ($125 tickets, anyone?). I can’t wait to feel slightly glamorous and very volunteery in this new Ann Taylor Loft dress.
[I can even teach in it on those days when I need a little up-lifting. Here’s to versatility!]
Half-truths. In that same Skype conversation, my friend asked me what prompted my last post. He was kind, and I could tell he thought it was a little – how do you say? – angsty, so I told him about watching my middle and high school students, these girls who are so fragile and unsure of who they are. I told him I hate knowing what lies ahead of them (or, maybe for some, what they’ve already been through) and also knowing there is nothing I can do to save them.
[I looked them in the eye once, when they were freaking out about something – clothes or a movie or something a boy had said, I can’t remember – and I said It gets better. Whatever you’re going through right now, I can tell you, it gets better. Because there is no doubt in my mind that what I’m living now is better than (and a product of) those tough years, figuring things out.]
I even told him that I’d recently read through one of my journals from 8th and 9th grades, and that this horror added itself to the mix.
But I didn’t tell him the whole truth. I didn’t tell him the seeds of other things that fed into that letter.
I think that’s okay. This blog thing is kind of strange, anyway, this baring of thoughts and soul online.
Half-truths are the way to go, I think. I’m just trusting that he (and you) won’t feel slighted.
I want to share my thoughts and life, but some things are better left in those journals I’m always talking about. Maybe I’d tell more over coffee or curled up on the couch, but even then, I remember we can only know others so deeply. There’s always a curtain, a half-truth, an incomplete truth.
I like to think this is part of the beauty of human connection. It keeps me guessing. It keeps me interested in other people.
It keeps me wholly known by God and no one else.
[Coliseum photo: Marcel Germain.]
4 Replies to “Good Things #31: Rome, Among Other Things”
Deep thoughts, dearest Catherine! Can’t wait to hear about your trip!
Thanks, Hannah. It was amazing in so many ways. I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon 🙂