Sunday, January 25, 2015


Sunday Reflection: Rome

I spent the summer of 2013 in Rome; I don't write about it much because it was a difficult summer.  

The city is, like all cities, a crazy mix of mayhem and beauty.  The traffic is overwhelming and dangerous, the city is dirty, and there seems to be a general sense that things don't work very well.  Still, it was a place of found treasure.

At night, I would often wander around on my own, just getting lost in narrow streets then trying to find my way back.  It was, I guess, one way of forcing myself to see the city.

One night, not long after I got there, I was pretty well lost.  I turned and reversed course, wandered and followed crowds.  Then, out of nowhere, was the Pantheon.  It was built at the time of Christ, then rebuilt under Hadrian, and sits at one end of a large plaza.  Consecrated as a church in the 7th century, it has been in continuous use for 2,000 years.  

I stood and looked.  I loved the light of the place, the lines of it.  I didn't go in, at least that night, but didn't have to.  Sometimes, the chance to see beauty is enough to redeem us.

My 3rd year design class was the first not to spend spring quarter studying in Rome and the summer in Italy and surrounds – ours was the first to visit Greece. The following fall, our presentation to the School of Architecture was a series of 10’ x 10’ black and white paintings suspended by wires over the atrium. Black and white slides were projected the nearly 80’ across the atrium, and students hurriedly traced the images with paint on canvas before the slides heated and began to distort the images.

To this day, what was ‘seen’ and most memorable were the seaside settings – boats of varying sizes and shapes, mast riggings and drying nets resembling delicate webs of rope and line, and faces intricately imprinted with furrowed brow, smiles and frown expressive, hands knurled and scarred – lives’ history worn on all gathered at the water’s edge.

Is redemption not revealed while losing ourselves in God’s creation(s), welcoming and being welcomed among our brethren – offering and sharing moments together where place becomes stage and roles evolve naturally as ‘spirit’ melds with heart and mind’s perceptions often suspended as peacefulness blankets all – A ‘Kingdom’ of moment that portends eternity’s promise. . .
Greece sounds pretty great!
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