The last day on the last stop. We slept in awhile today-I'm trying to stockpile sleep a little before we make our long journey back, and I jump right back into the real world.
While I was thinking about writing today, I asked myself what I would want to remember when I read this again, when the trip is just a memory. Would I want dates and artists names of the Duomo and Baptistery or would I rather read about how it all made me feel. I chose the latter. Of course I loved the history, and the years dedicated to such a place, but I can always Google those.
We had tickets today to visit the Duomo, the fourth largest Cathedral in Europe. It was warm and sticky and I wore a sundress. It was fortunate that I put a tank top on under it because there was a guard of sorts, making sure that everyone was respectfully dressed to enter. Young women with short shorts had scarves wrapped around their waists like skirts. I actually thought of it this morning, but one thing I had noticed is that Europe is much more casually dressed than the last time I was here. It is a very holy place and they have the right to ask for respect. We had decided after seeing the sign of what was allowed that if I got a no, Jon would give me his shirt, because he had another shirt on underneath it. The guard guy made me turn around to see the back of the dress. Probably because I'm old, overweight and had a shirt on underneath it he let me in. But it still made me feel like I should have been more cognizant.
I'm not Roman Catholic but it doesn't matter when you enter. In fact, I'm not sure it would matter if you aren't even a believer or a Christian. The FEELING is overwhelming. The feeling of being in a truly sacred place. I told Jon that what moves me, when I look around and up at such beauty, is the realization of the sacrifice that people over centuries...centuries...put into creating a place that would honor their faith. My faith and spirituality aren't quite so simple these days, due to experience and loss; in fact it runs much deeper than what I believe we can understand in our humanity. When I
come into a place like this, I realize that for hundreds and hundreds of years, people, artists mostly, have sacrificed so much as a testament to their belief. They took simple Bible stories and created masterpieces. Certainly there is a Higher Being. When I visit a place like that, I think of my own doubts, as we all have. It reminds me of Glenn saying, "Look. People have been trying to kill the
Church for centuries. And as imperfect as it is, it remains." Although it represents a very particular branch of Christianity, there is larger MEANING for all of us. There is more than this world. I wish my words did a better job of describing my feelings. I'll leave it as the fact that for once in my life,
the art was second.