Eugene found incredible beauty on the road between Nice and Genoa.
“You never leave the edge of the sea which affords a continuous and charming picture, but at each bend in the winding roads in every bay you are delighted by a new vista with a view of hills dotted with large villages and a large number of little towns built at shore-level whose houses can be descried from afar, always surmounted by beautiful steeples and very tall churches. You don’t stop remarking on its beauty all the way to Genoa, which you see against a scenic background, crowning the finest view in the whole universe” (Letter to Father Tempier, at Marseilles – 450:VIII in Oblate Writings)
I am reminded of a couple of touchstone trips that I have made – the first which was to leave my home in the west and move to Eastern Ontario almost 35 years ago. There was dread and excitement at the same time for I was sure God was calling me, the Spirit leading me and yet everything I knew would not be there – I had to let go of it before I could come to know and enjoy my new surroundings.
The second trip of any great importance was my pilgrimage to the Czech Republic followed with a stop in Rome and then on to Aix. I was scared, I did not really know anyone so I felt quite on my own – it seemed I was not in control of myself or anything else including the languages I would come to hear. Yet flying over the countryside of the Czech Republic and into Prague – there was such incredible beauty to behold – It was the beginning of 5 day love affair with the country and the people I met.
What a gift this has been in my life! Even as I sit here the images that come to mind are incredibly rich with life, the people, the winding roads and rolling hills with colours and mists. Interesting that it is the people and the nature that captured me – not so much the cities and buildings – they too were nice but it was the other, the gypsies, the Associates, the Oblates and the youth group – they all and each touched my heart – more than that – they walked into my heart and now reside there so that each time I want to, I can go and remember.
Perhaps the letting go was so that my heart would have room for such experiences and memories of beauty and love. My heart smiles – I have been given much.