The first time I traveled to Italy, Giovanni took me to Verona. That June afternoon encapsulated all that Italy can be at its best--a mild blue day, pots of roses on window ledges, and the quiet murmur and melody of people speaking Italian. Our shadows cast romantic silhouettes as we walked hand in hand down cobblestone streets. We stopped at the site of Giulietta's balcony, the location where she and Romeo pledged their love to one another. We have a photograph of me standing by Giulietta's statue, the stone carved to depict the maiden holding up a silk gown just above her slender ankles. I'm grasping her waist, my hand touching the folds of her garment, my appearance incongruent with hers, wearing Chuck Taylors and skinny jeans, a red knapsack slung over my shoulder. Just behind me is a wall of notes and graffiti. Couples come each year to add their names to the wall of lovers. I wrote our names on a post-it note and placed our symbol of love on the wall.
Currently, I'm experiencing some health issues. I've hated this reality, honestly. I don't much like being the weak one--feeling so vulnerable. Needing help. I've been fascinated, though, and encouraged by the response from others. I suppose if anyone is going to give me something I relate to and love, it's words. I adore words, whether I'm writing them or reading them. The people who love me seem to know this. And they've posted their love notes on the wall of my life. Just as I'd never be able to count all the names on the wall in Verona, I wouldn't be able to count all the lovely words I've collected on my wall since I've been ill...
~Grilling some sausage for supper and a little wine too. Bacio. (kiss in Italian).
~I thought of you most of yesterday...much love to you. A peaceful night's rest.
~Remember He is your Shepherd. He is with you. Therefore you fear no evil.
~Peace is your reality today.
~We are praying that all goes well for you.
~I saw a picture of God holding you in His hands.
~I will come and take care of you. I want to.
~I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
~May you ever feel His presence and His absolute delight in you.
~I'm praying Psalm 20 for you.
~Ti mando un grande bacio e un fortissimo abbraccio. (I send you a huge kiss and a big hug in Italian).
~I've been praying for your appointment today I read last night about Jesus healing at the pool of Bethesda and looked up the meaning of Bethesda. It means "an enclosure of mercy." I feel like that is for you.
~Remember that by His stripes you are healed.
~I saw you praying, a gentle, healing rain falling on you.
~I am praying and feel like the Lord said that you are like a precious little lamb tucked in the folds of His robes and all you need to do is let Him carry you down the path.
~We are all behind you in this process. (Colleagues).
~I had a prayer meeting at my house today, and we prayed for you. The place was charged. Everything will go well.
~Your heartbeat makes a pretty picture." (Lab technician reading my EKG).
In Verona, I remember the sound of the multitude of post-it notes fluttering in the breeze. And I hear the flurry of that sound now, all those post its collected on my life wall, full of love, and the prayers of God's people. A shelter.