The Eternal City

Rome has been a dream. I dream that I will wake up from on Saturday unfortunately, but I could not think of a better place to end the experience. Just in these last few days I think I have said “this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen” at every turn in Rome. The other day, Jake related Rome to lasagna. As odd as that sounds, I don’t think I have heard anything more accurate. The city is layers upon layers of history that goes back to 3000 years ago. Thats before Jesus people.

One of the many highlights of Rome was seeing Vatican City. I stepped in my fourth country of the trip and my eyes were pulled in every direction at something new that was most likely 2000 years old. We walked through the palace and were greeted with stunning paintings by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio. Stunning sculptures and marble from the Colosseum were at every turn. I learned that I have a serious fascination with ceilings after taking pictures of each one I saw (there are a few below). The Sistine Chapel, as expected was breathtaking. However, what was not expected was what I learned about Michelangelo. There is one word to describe him, many of you think the word genius is the correct word, but I am going to go with savage. He was a genius, absolutely, but he turned down the Pope…multiple times. That is just something you cannot do. After painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo vowed to never go back to the chapel again. He actually never left the ceiling for four years, I wouldn’t want to go back either. But, there was another blank wall and the Pope insisted that Michelangelo should paint it. Michelangelo turned the Pope down, several times, until 20 million dollars was put on the table for him to paint it. Then, of course he agreed. Even though he agreed to paint this wall, he did it his way. The Last Judgement was the painting right behind the alter and Michelangelo painted it all of naked people, not exactly something you expect to see when going in a chapel, is it? He explained that God sees us all naked, so the people are naked. Interesting interpretation I suppose, but needless to say, he surprised me. (continue past pictures).

Highlight number two: I met a Princess. She was not your ordinary princess, not that being a princess is ordinary, but she was a Texan. She graduated from the University of Texas and also attended Harvard Business School, not too shabby. Dr. P has an incredible talent of pulling strings to make amazing things happen. This one certainly rocked my world. We went into her home with artifacts that are 2000 years old and paintings from Caravaggio on her ceiling. Casual. Also, opera was founded in her home. The front room has incredible acoustics and artists from all over the world come to sing there. Indigo has the most beautiful voice and the Princess invited her to sing right there where opera was founded and recorded her to put in the archives. Indigo sang Over the Rainbow and it moved everyone to tears, that moment I will hold with me forever and I cannot wait to see her on Broadway someday. I promise you she will be the star in every show. After shedding some tears, she continued to show us around the house. I admired her in every way, she was so knowledgable about everything in the house and knew, what seemed like everything, about Italy and the family line.

Okay, I know I say this all the time, I admitted it earlier in this blog, but I really mean it this time. Today, I saw the coolest thing I have ever seen. Bear with me. Another fair warning, I just got back from seeing this so I am still pretty pumped up so forgive the grammar and random sentences, thank ya very much. Here we go…Today, I went to the prison that Peter and Paul were kept in. PETER AND PAUL PEOPLE. Peter wrote a majority of the Bible, he was friends with Jesus, talked to him like all the time!!! How cool is that!? Coming face to face with history is one of the most surreal feelings. It was very similar to the feeling of walking through Dachau. Controversial sentence, I know, but its the idea that something you have been taught and studied is now coming full circle. Seeing this was so exciting on the surface but it ran deeper. Christianity is something I identify with, Jesus is who I follow and strive to be like, so seeing this circle of learning and faith be partially completed (I’m dreaming of visiting Jerusalem) put a fire in my heart. Not that it was exciting that Peter and Paul were stuck in prison, but I stood where they were thousands of years ago, now that is so stinkin’ cool. I can’t really get over it. America is wonderful, but we just don’t have history like this. Rome’s roots run deep, I was in the same place as one of Jesus’s best friends, the one who Jesus said to come follow him and become fishers of men. He walked through life withe Jesus, saw him perform miracles after miracles, change lives, and then sacrifice His life for all of us. The man that denied Christ three times. Now thats history. By far the best experience on CR for me.

CR10 has been a surreal experience. There is nothing like this and I won’t ever be able to repeat it. Tonight we shared what we loved about each other, the ways we have impacted each other, and how we have grown through this experience. These people are my people. Each one of them is so special and so unique, I love them deeply and I know that they are with me for life. Tomorrow is our last day. It took everything in me not to cry this evening so I know the tears will come tomorrow night. I am so grateful for the memories made and the lifelong friendships, I am determined to make this last day an incredible one.

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