Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beginning and End

I wish I could tell you what larger object this image is a smaller part of, but the truth is that I don't remember. I just noticed this decorative section and took a picture of it.

It's from the tiny medieval town of Monteriggioni, about an hour south of Florence. Not very far from San Gimignano, for those familiar with Tuscan towns.

I realized yesterday that it has been over a month and a half since I "blogged," so it seemed that I really should write something. But, having just returned from almost a month spent in Italy and Croatia, I couldn't think where to begin! I'm not planning to attempt a full report of the trip; when I tried that two years ago, it just didn't work, because current life kept giving me ideas to write about, and I eventually gave up on trying to finish the account.

So, for now, here is this photo from my trip. It mentions the Alpha and the Omega, which brings to mind the presence of God, certainly an important reality of the past month of my life.

And it mentions the Via Francigena, a path I was unaware of until two years ago. It is a travel route between Canterbury and Rome used by pilgrims and other travelers from early centuries into the present. (My friend and I even met some modern-day pilgrims on the road as we walked one afternoon.) Monteriggioni, one of the cities along the route, had various ways of welcoming pilgrims and offering hospitality to them. I suppose this little sign was one of those ways.

So, my trip has had its beginning and its end, although I think the trip itself brought about some new things that may be just beginning. That remains to be seen. (Now, aren't you curious?)

Whatever the "via" (way, path) of my life holds, I'm thankful to walk it in confidence that it's not just up to me to find the way, but that there are strangers who have offered, and will offer, hospitality; there are signs to mark the way; there are countless others who have walked before me; and there is the Alpha and Omega who gives strength and guidance to all who want to walk with Him.

And maybe I'll share some more pictures and stories in coming days. (No promises, though. Still a lot of laundry and cleaning going on here! And translating to do!)


Brent said...

I like it when something large is reduced to a single something. Just as a single slice of cake has all the ingredients, your blog post and photo perfectly gave me a taste of the whole trip. Bravo! (yes, I dared use an Italian word though I know next to nothing of the language, but your post inspired me!)

Sil said...

Hello Sheila,
I wonder if you believe in serendipity! This morning a google alert dropped your blog address into my inbox. At the same time, I am adding a post to my Via Francigena blog and there was your beautiful photograph of the sign in Monteriggione. I would love to use a copy of it - may I? I will credit your blog.

Sheila said...


Most certainly you may use the photo, and I appreciate your asking.

(How could one not believe in serendipity after living very many years?)

I look forward to exploring your blog later, too.

Sheila said...

Brent, how bold of you, using Italian! :-)

Hey, while in Cakovec, I found one of the texts (Writing with Style) from Dr. Long's composition class and read the whole thing while I was there. It made me want to pay more attention to my own writing!

I'll get in touch later about how the translation meeting with Tosca went. (She is the friend mentioned when we met the pilgrims while walking near their house in Strove, which is also along the Via Francigena.)