Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On Rome Rememberings

So, I just read through my entire journal from Europe last summer (no small feat, as my ramblings filled half a composition book over the twelve days). Most of the things I read I remember so seamlessly, but a few things made me laugh because I didn't remember them; saying "I know..." with Oklahoma; Shacka Lacka Boom Boom three euro, in Rome with Cla and Rodger; making up an epic tale about the kind old man inviting us into his home in Assisi. And then I ran across something so familiar to my mind now, and I wondered if it was the first time I had versed those thoughts on paper:

From June 27th, 2008, a little before five in the afternoon. This was the day we toured the Colosseum, the forum, the Vatican, and about a quadrillion other places in Rome (we walked over 14 miles on this day alone). I wrote this during some down time we had right before dinner.

"So many things make me sad; I think about how much I love people (honestly, I love everyone I see; I do fall in love everyday), and then I see [these people around me] shoving people off, making them feel so small; just acting so selfishly, and I wonder how much of that has rubbed off on me. How cruel am I to people? Do I treat them like rubbish? Do I come across as an arrogant, puffed up, self-centered ass? I just want to love people. I have so much love inside of myself, and I want to show people that they are important, that I see them, and what they do and how they are means so much to me, because it truly does. I can't describe it any better. I want to love people, but I feel like the person I am turning into can't. I want to love the whole world, give everyone a hug who needs one, and not be a part of all of this bashing and belittling of others who deserve nothing less than love. And you can't tell me you don't care, or it doesn't matter, or whatever. Because we are called to love. We have been given the greatest love, indescribably so, and if we cannot see that and be so filled that we must overflow into everyone about us, then we do not know love, and we do not know God. Ok, I'm really sad now."

I think about this now, in regard toward what I desire with my life, and it's essentially the same. There are so many uncertainties everywhere in our world, love is the only thing I can hold tight to: the love that God gives so freely and graciously, and the love we in turn are to gift unto every single person we ever come in contact with.

But there are so many questions, as was exhibited by a three hour theological discussion last night with Ila, Anthony, Victor, and Kristina (which certainly could have continued on for much longer, if we had not all started to fall asleep). And I question the fact that I have put so much stock into my beliefs, even though answers to the hardest questions aren't always readily available from that belief. I don't know: it's a stressful concept, this faith and trust in things that we cannot fully understand.

I find myself troublesomely stuck between two groups of people. At SPU, I feel so liberal in anything I have to say. But anywhere outside of that bubble, I feel like the most conservative, inexperienced person imaginable. Is no one else on this same plain?

I can't tell how much doubt is helpful in making me learn and grow, and how much is potentially faith-shattering.

Paul speaks: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights nor depths, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 8:35-39

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