I’m late posting my weekly article. . . must be due to the fact that we are one week away from Puglia. We are heading to Italy next week! For the first time, we are going to this region of Italy which is the heel in the boot. We are renting a Villa with some friends and anticipate sitting by the pool, enjoying the beaches, and exploring the local food and culture. All of Italy is laid back. . . but from what I hear, the South even more so!
The Brexit thing has also got me wondering. . . wondering about change, the pace of life, and the human reactions to difference. Marco and I have watched Italy slowly come to terms with people like us living our lives the way we are meant to live. Eighteen years ago we walked the streets of Cremona with angels wings on our t-shirts. . . he with one wing, me with the other. The quote was this. . . “Siamo angeli con un’ala soltanto.. e possiamo volare solo restando abbracciati…” (We are angels with only one wing. . . we can fly only when we stay in an embrace).
We always say that Italy is 20 years behind the US in gay rights. Vermont was the first State to have civil unions in the year 2000. So, it’s about right that 16 years later, Italy has just passed a civil union law that allows Marco and I and people like us to have a contractual relationship with the rights and privileges that go along with it. We are happy. . . but still long for the day when our marriage and our son will be fully recognized in Italy.
And. . . Brexit. . . and Trump. . . are more signs that change is difficult. . . The arc of history moves towards more inclusivity, acceptance of difference, and ultimately love and kindness. The pace of change, however, causes many to fear – to hate – to lash out – to react – to shout – to vote – to scream that it’s too much too fast and we need to slow things down!
My favorite professor in seminary, Harrell Beck, had a quote that I love. It is something like this. . . “change is inevitable, but growth is a choice.” We are in a constant change state from the day that we are born. Each day is new. We have new cells. Every day there is some new thing that we learn, a new adaptation. But, we can choose to grow through these many changes or we can fight, stomp our feet, resist reality, and stay in our stuck ways!
Back to Italy. . . Marco and I are sometimes in conflict with Italy. We lament the slow pace of change. We are frustrated by the bureaucracy that cramps creativity. We joke about the length of time it takes to perform simple tasks of daily life. We notice the inefficiencies of systems. At the same time, we love the slow. We yearn for the simple pleasures of the stroll along the corso. We love the history of our ancient City of Cremona with its unchanged beauty.
We are going to Italy in one week. We will enjoy the balance of life: enjoying the fruits of our labors in our careers, celebrating the inevitability of change, finding meaning in the moments of every day, grieving the hateful reactions to change, enjoying the meaningful relationships in our lives, savoring the pleasures and tastes of Puglia, and finding life in the moments of every day.