Wednesday, March 20, 2013

and you act so deaf, so blind

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty;
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
--W. Wordsworth, 
Upon Westminster Bridge

And then I heard bagpipes floating up into the library--the soundtrack of Trafalgar Square--and I was like: great goodness galoshes, I am living in London. 
And then life was really good and I cried a bit.

Sometimes, when incredible things happen, it's hard to register.
Yesterday evening, I walked into the Royal Opera House, which is only a few hundred meters from my domicile (I don't know how to measure a meter, but Google Maps tells me so).
And I was just one small girl in a purple dress in a very large opera house, watching Puccini's Tosca.
And then, my mind was sort of blown, because the first Act takes place in the church of Sant'Andrea dell Valle, which I had attended Mass in only a short week ago.
Sant'Andrea is like one of my favorite hang-out spots in Rome.
And there was Tosca and her lover, hiding revolutionaries and fighting off dictators, in my little Sant'Andrea.
So I may have cried some more.

There's a psalm I love that goes like this: 
All the ways of the Lord are kindness and constancy to those who fear Him.
Cause sometimes I think that sort of "kindness" is an awful lot like my Mom, who defines "kindness" as sending you to bed early if you're a riotous seven-year-old who refuses to eat dinner, and makes a loud, rude stink about it. Or they'll define kindness as telling you you can't have the car to go to your friend's house, because there are only three cars and eight people, and there are five places everyone else needs to be (being skilled in advanced mathematics is crucial to choreographing life in a large family).
That's sometimes how my mother's kindness works.
Sometimes, I will confess, I think God's brand of kindness is eerily similar to my mother's.
And I think sometimes I need to sit them both down, and say:
Friends/Parental Authority figures, let's do a quick review of this whole "kindness" deal:
Our pal Mr. Webster defines "Kindness" as the quality of being "kind," which he defines as:

1chiefly dialect : affectionate, loving
2a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature
b : of a forbearing nature : gentle
c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance

When you find yourself constantly living with strongly-willed beings [like God and my mother], what's truly surprising is when they let your will have its way.

Today, I wanted a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
Because they are the number one food that I love in the States.
And they are the number one food I do not have here.
But, then, my friend found a pack of three Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in her bag.
And I was so happy.

And then, as I sat down for a lecture, my friend pulls out Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to share.
And I think I cried.
Because there were so many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And I hardly deserved them all.
But it was so kind of them to offer.

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