Sometimes your life changes in big, dramatic ways, as though you've been cast in a play you don't remember auditioning for.~Jess Walter (From The Angel of Rome)
I didn't expect to like Italy so much. Some people might ask, "Priscilla what could you not possibly like about that country...I mean the food, the wine, the ornate cathedrals, the architecture? The castles, the cerulean lakes, the people? Are you crazy?" There is nothing more vivid than the country's beauty, its houses painted deep salmon and pink, ochre and yellow, lavender mountain ranges outlined in the distance. Everywhere one looks, there is all of that. My experience in past years when I'd visit was to survive--family gatherings and packed schedules, the beauty as fleeting in my memory as a locomotive rushing past. There was no way to count all the train cars. I came home exhausted and headed back to work.
This time, I still spoke the language with less skill than a four-year-old. But I couldn't remember audititioning for this play. This theater production was slower. I sat at the train tracks and had time to count the cars. The pace was slow enough to allow a savoring of the beauty, to practice speaking, to receive the love of my husband and his family. Each day while there I would write in my journal and ask myself, "How do I keep it simple today? What are my lines for the day's script? What am I grateful for?" Somehow, the day would fall into place, the landscape of the country a stage. I felt sad to leave. I wanted more time in the boot.
Being back in the United States is a comfort. To speak my own language and to know my surroundings, to be with my family. I pray, though, that I can keep asking myself the same questions here on my American stage. What makes life simpler today? What is my script to rehearse? What am I grateful for?. There is a crisp blue sky overhead today. I take a walk. My American neighborhood is abuzz with people out with their dogs, setting pumpkins on porches. I spy a ruby red vine trailing over a doorpost. As I walk, I realize life is constantly changing in dramatic ways at times, and other times in more subtle ways. "God, let me be open to the changes that occur in life, the different stages I find myself on. Help me keep it simple. Help me remember my lines, a script of gratefulness to you.