The delicious pasta with melting cheese and bolognese sauce. The vanilla bean gelato with balsamic vinegar*. The cobblestone streets and squares. The weathered stone walls and arched windows, and low spires. Bologna, Italy.
Something is wondrous about travel. It reminds you of all the possibilities, all the diversity, all the beauty in this world. The wonder-awoken soul breathes in the past and future. There is a remarkable, multi-faceted, light-breaking, colorful prism of a vision God has for his people. One only begins to understand it once he leaves his side of the diamond. God didn’t just create a continent or a country; he created a world. His glory is seen through creation, and aren’t peoples and cultures a part of that?
Travel isn’t the only way to discover all these things, of course, but it’s a powerful way to remind us that there is so much outside of us and our comfort zones. The outside things aren’t to be feared but explored with awe like a toddler would explore a field of grass and flowers in the spring.
The more you are filled with awe and wonder, the more you change.
But I think there is also a conscious initiative you have to take when you visit a city or country. You need to be aware that if you visit a tourist attraction area, what you see isn’t the whole story. And if you are there for a longer time, it’s always a good idea to try to immerse yourself in a culture and learn as much as you can. It’s easy to stay in your comfort bubble, even in another country. There are often resorts and hotels that keep you safe and within boundaries.
Boundaries are acceptable – what’s important is being aware of them. Travel humbly. Seek to learn and grow and stretch and become more aware of the world God has created.
Hush, and listen to the lively chatter. Savor the satisfying sweetness of fresh fruit. Pay attention to every texture and touch and the way the wind twirls. See, look, fix your eyes on the details and patterns and colors and shadows… the patchwork and paintings of our God that are ever-moving. Breath in the spice, the nectar, the earthy rain-soaked air, and breath out a deep, reverent, slow sigh.
Friend, the world is too full of God’s glory to sit back and stay put.
*As gross as it sounds, the vanilla bean gelato with balsamic vinegar was absolutely amazing. Italians just know how to make good food. Here’s an example recipe for those foodie dare-devils who want to try it out.
I haven’t been writing frequently, but that’s because I have been heading up the organization of the Truth4TCKs conference. It’s an online conference for Christian Third Culture Kids, specifically teens and young adults. We’re going live May 22nd and 23rd – check out truth4tcks.org for more.
I won’t be writing much until after that happens. Thanks for bearing with me friends! May the Lord fill you with wonder and grace.