Here are the Annunciation pictures I took at the Uffizi the other day. I can’t get enough of them, so I snap them over and over and over again. Maybe I should be posting pictures of Holy Week to correspond to the current season, but I resonate with the beginning of Christ’s life, and with what God is asking of Mary—to be the Christ bearer. I keep asking what God wants me to bear and what I hear is hope and love.
I did it again. I went to San Marco and took photos of Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the monks’ cells. Each scene from the life of Christ offers a metaphor for life: the journey from birth to death, from suffering to hope. Whatever is going on in my life, in the lives of those I know and love, or in the lives of the people in the world, transformation and hope in present in Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection.
A friend suggested that each year we chose a word to live by for the upcoming 365 days. I have chosen one for this trip: WONDER. So, here I am again in Florence, living into a sense of wonder as I walk around with God.
I’ve pretty much given up defining God—no words other than vague phrases: mystery, beyond words, a state of being, a sense of wholeness, contentment, deep peace in the soul, a feeling of that all is well. My experience tells me that knowing God comes to me when I am being in the present moment, no thoughts of the past or future, which is wise way to be when meditating.
As I wander the streets of Florence in a sense of wonder, I’m in a in a different kind of meditative state. I’m not sitting still with an ‘empty mind’. I’m aware of the NOW, but I’m also drawing on the past; my past experiences do matter. The future is also with me, but to a lesser extent.
I just had to share this with my prayerdiary friends about a post on www.acottagebythesea.net.
Would you believe this? I was selected as one of two the blog stars for December 2018 by Lonely Planet for my 12/28 post “More Signs of a Solitary Traveler.” “LP Pathfinders: what did you write this month [December]’ in our Travel Bloggers and Pathfinders forum.”
Thanks to everyone who submitted their wonderful travel tales from December 2018! A big congratulations to the following blog-stars who made it into this month's new-look round up:
You can check out the round-up in full, including why these blogs were selected, here: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2019/01/17/pathfinders-best-blogs-instagram-shots-and-videos-from-december-2018
Well done everyone! Keep up the wonderful travel writing and we look forward to reading more of your posts next month.
This is my last day in Florence walking around with God. Of course, I can walk around with God anywhere, because God is everywhere.
Walking around with God is not a white privilege; you don’t have to afford be in such a beautiful place as Florence; God walks with everyone, everywhere, all the time--God shows no partiality.
God is always there to walk with me. I just have to notice.
Here it is again! A slideshow of Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the monks’ cells in the Convent of San Marco. At 8:15 I was the first visitor of the day, and for a while I had the place to myself. I have a set of these same pictures stored on my computer, so why take them again? Because these are of the moment, this moment of prayer.
I’m more conscious of walking around with God in the early morning, at least when I’m in Florence. There are fewer distractions to draw my thoughts away. The streets are relatively clear of traffic, the sidewalks sparse save for a few runners; I don’t have to concentrate on maneuvering my way from spot to spot, from café to cafe. And then there is the heat; even in September there is the omnipresent sun.
Very grateful for this morning.
On this visit to Florence I’ve become aware of how different life has become from what I experienced during my childhood and even my parenting years. Cell phones, selfies, wearing attire, hair styles, tattoos are just the way it is these days. Most would agree that the world is changing exponentially.
The good news, at least as far as I am concerned, is that I have no regrets about the past, nor specific desires for the future. As I sit here writing in this little park, I feel myself accepting things just the way they are, and, as the saying goes, just the way they aren’t. I notice I have very few judgments about people and I’m less apt to analyze situations. It’s just the way it is, not good, not bad. Life is changing and people have to adapt. You might say I have a Zen approach in accepting what is.
However, as a Christian I attribute the calm I feel to my meditation and prayer practice. My moral compass is always shimmering and keeping me on track. I try to be honest with myself and others, and follow the Golden Rule.
This is grace, not of my own doing. I just show up to open my heart.
I did it again. I took pictures of Fra Angelico’s frescoes in the monks’ cells at the Convent of San Marco. Before every visit I tell myself I don’t need another set of photographs; during every visit, I take pictures anyway; at the end of the day, I post them. So, here they are for your prayerful enjoyment.
If you name it a prayer walk, it will becomes one—it happens when t the mind goes to the heart. On this Sunday in Florence the temperature may reach 90, and for sure the streets will be crowded, but right now the early morning is cool and the streets relatively clear. So I start my best prayer walk, inviting my mind into my heart.
My walk began quietly as I wandered across the Piazza della Signoria, along the Arno, over the Ponte Vecchio, and down some side streets. Life picked up at Piazza Santo Spirito, where an antique show was getting underway and where my go-to café was bustling. Final stop, Sung High Mass at St. Mark’s English Church.