Have you ever taken a trip that left such an impression, you knew it would linger with you forever? I’ve had a handful of those experiences. The first was a mission trip I took with my mom and brother to Nairobi, Kenya when I was 16 years old. Seeing people who lived in poverty yet sang with enthusiastic joy to the Lord and offered hospitality with a generosity of spirit that still puts me to shame allowed me to understand how little material wealth really matters when it comes to living life to the fullest.
My honeymoon trip where we dodged a tornado, got rained on while hiking the Grand Canyon, and battled swarms of mosquitoes on a humid horseback ride in Palo Dura Canyon. Good thing we were newlyweds and didn’t really care about our misadventures.
Well, last Sunday, I returned from a once in a lifetime trip that still has me in a state of awe. A history teacher from my daughter’s high school started putting together a trip to Italy and Greece last year, and my daughter begged me to let her sign up. I didn’t feel comfortable letting her travel outside the country without me, and I REALLY wanted to go, so I told her that she could only go if I could tag along as a chaperone. Well, she worked her magic and got me on the short list for chaperones and last week, we finally got to go to Rome, Pompeii, Olympia, and Athens.
What a feast for the soul!
To see the birthplace of democracy. To tour the catacombs where Christians hid in order to worship in secret and bury their dead while under Roman persecution. To walk among the ruins of the site of the first Olympic games and stand on the same starting line as the original Greek athletes. To pass through the entry arch where gladiators marched into the arena to battle for their lives. To stand in awe within the Sistine Chapel and see the hand of God reaching out to touch Adam. To witness the mighty destruction wrought upon an unsuspecting city by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. To ascend the acropolis of Athens and look down to see the rock (Mars Hill) where Paul preached to the people of Athens about the “Unknown God”. And to experience it all with my daughter . . . I feel amazingly privileged.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
Examples of art that stole my breath:
And of course, the crowning glory of the acropolis in Greece, the Parthenon.
Though one of my favorite sites was also the least presuming. Just a chunk of gray rock, but for Christians, this chunk of unassuming stone marks an historic event – Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill where he preached the good news to the Athenians about the “unknown God” from Acts 17.
So how about you?
- Have you traveled somewhere that felt like a “once in a lifetime” moment?
- Where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world?