Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart, a wise person draws from the well that is within.~Proverbs 20:5 (The Message)
I sat in the chair, metaphorically tying myself down with ropes so that I would not allow the enchanting songs of the sirens to lure me to the territory of self-pity. I wanted to go there, my body wracked with allergies and fatigue, my chest sore from chronic sneezing. I'd never experieced allergies in my life, and now while in Italy I felt miserable as I encountered the springtime pollen. I told Giovanni I couldn't go on the outing. I needed to stay inside and rest--let the allergy medication kick in. I resisted the desire to allow self-pity to overtake me and decided to write a short story, creating a protagonist who faced a difficult decision and opted to choose what was right, what was true. I entitled the piece, Siren's Melody.
The next day, Giovanni and I traveled to the Amalfi Coast. My allergies continued to bother me, but I had medication that took the edge off, and we had reached our goal to make it to the coast. This feat alone was something to celebrate. And yet again, disappointment. Clouds hemmed us in on all sides, the azure Mediterranean that I so longed to see, now invisible. Only fog and clouds. I had to smile as I noted the name of the bed and breakfast where we stayed: Il Canto Delle Sirene--The Song of The Sirens. I sensed God saying to me, "Keep choosing to discover beauty and joy, no matter your circumstances. Don't allow the steep cliffs of negativity and self-pity to tempt you to a place of demise."
We stayed inside that overcast day and enjoyed our lovely room. Drank strong coffee and ate croissants spread thickly with Nutella. Giovanni slept, and I edited my short story. Every now and then I'd walk out onto our balcony, hoping to get a glimpse of the blue sea. Smelling its salty tang and hearing the lapping waves, was like finding a bouquet of red roses hidden in the grayness.
The next day, clouds persisted, but as we drove down the mountainside, the sun broke through, revealing a faultess sky. We'd driven to Smeraldo (Emerald), hoping to view a famous cove there along the rocky shores, but the seas were too rough, and the attraction was closed. Other tourists had arrived as well, yet instead of frustration over the closure, there seemed to be a spirit of joy that one could feel. Relief that the sun finally shone. Light at last. A man, deeply tanned and smiling infectiously, sold lemons the size of softballs from a cart. Vivid sprays of bougainvillea, like crimson papyrus, covered bright-white columns. The sea stretched for miles, turquoise and shining, alive with power. Breathing.
All along the way in Italy, I found hidden red-rose bouquets. The murmuring swallows that awakened me each morning. The warmth and love of family. Holding my husband's hand as we walked the ruins of Pompei. The kindness of my neighbor, Giulia, who waited patiently for me to express myself in Italian. Window ledges lined with pots of pink geraniums. Churches filled with pastel frescoes. Bells chiming each hour, reminders of God's faithfulness, obliterating the bewitching song of the sirens.