Friday, June 24, 2011

A Moment Frozen

After writing my previous post - "Mission Shaped Cathedrals" - I wanted to share this experience I had on our first family trip to Europe in 2005. Great excitement. People who had been before load you with useful information and tips of what to do and what not to do.

One thing a friend suggested to me is to "not waste time going into these old churches with all the statues of dead people," "It's just like idolatry", they said.

Paris was our first stop and how does one NOT visit Notre Dame? Tsk. Silly. Of course we did. And all the others everywhere.

But this post is not about that. 
                                                      Not at all.
                                                                    This post is about what happened at St Pauls Basilica in Rome.

We had been walking around Rome for hours - it's what we love to do. We decided though to board the train to visit St Pauls since it is a fair distance to walk from the centre of Rome. It was later on in the day, and although we were happy, we were a little weary.

We got off the train and made our way toward the basilica. You would think that it would stick out being a large building. We walked and shopped and walked....forever looking at our almost-shredded-with-use map. Eventually, standing beside a huge grey wall, I said to My Man, "Let's just forget it and go back". But he kept saying, "the map says it's right here!"  To which I probably snapped back something like "Well, do you seeeeeee it?" ....?? 

We saw a little door in the grey wall and he said, "It must be in there? "No way!" I said, "this looks way too boring."  But we have come all this way!" he said "let's just slip in quickly."  -  Fine.

                 He went in first, followed by My Girl, then... rather begrudgingly, me.

I will never ever be able to put into words what happend once I had entered. I promise you, I could not walk, I just stood there, it was all I could do to stand up straight, and then, very embarressingly, I burst into tears. (Not like me!)

I don't know if I have ever felt the presence of God as strongly as I felt it in that moment.  I don't know how long I stood there for, but as I did, I heard God whisper to me...

"People can look dull and boring too, not worth your time, but if you take the time to step into their lives, you will find yourself enriched by them."

I will never forget that moment.

Much later, as we walked out of what was the correct entrance... I looked back at the most beautiful outside facade. However, had I gone in that way ..... would I have missed the whole experience?


  1. opposites need each other to remain vibrant in and of themselves. contrast illuminates - makes me reflect on the brightness of light in the darkness of the dark

  2. Your post just gave me goose bumps...something so easily forgotten and so very powerful. At the Mission we find that the most haggard and abused shells contain the purest treasures...

  3. Beyond wonderful!
    You know that I've had a mirror experience of yours so can totally "go there" with you in this.
    Those are truly unexpected, forgettable, landmark moments.
    And I love what He whispered to you in yours.
    Love, stroller.

  4. I can relate too - something vaguely similiar happened to me in Israel. Thanks for this post -needed to be reminded! How about a picture?


So, what do you think?