Hindsight is a reliable teacher. A glance in the rear-view mirror takes me back to a year ago and smack dab into the disastrous start of my solo trip to Italy. It was a journey that I had hoped would show me more of who I was, but first there was the bad start. Embarrassingly bad. Cringe. Worthy.
I missed my first flight. While sitting at the gate. (Yes, it IS possible. No, I wasn’t asleep. Click here if you insist on having the sordid details.)
I was so freaked out I couldn’t even get out of my own home town. I wondered if it was a bad omen. Maybe even a sign I shouldn’t go.
Except it wasn’t.
It was a hiccup.
But hiccups can be tricky. In the midst of them, it’s difficult to see that they are sometimes just a not-so-gentle push to get focussed. To pay attention. To be here. Be now. To deal with what is. To believe we are held. We are not actually alone. When I eventually shifted gears and did that, everything else shifted, too. In the most wonderful, soul-filling, life-shaping ways.
There are many lessons I hold from that incredible trip. One of them is captured in this photo I snapped on the last leg of my solo journey in a beautiful, seaside town called Polignano a Mare. By this point, things had shifted gears and were going blessedly well. Every day was a reunion with myself, remembering who I am on my own accord, unattached to another. With deep blue waves crashing against the cliffs below me, I strolled toward this statue, curious at first and then drawn to him, not because he represents a famous Italian singer (Dominico Modugno), but because his arms are wide open to all that lies before him.
A guy of gusto, he sings, “Volare!” Fly! Fly into this life, this day, ready for anything:
The rough start. The beauty along the way. The questioning. The doubts. The people. The food. The fear. The discovery. The triumph. All of it. Life is a dichotomous package deal.
So fling your arms wide open and embrace it all because, even with maps and plans and GPS systems, we don’t really know where the journey will take us. A rough start doesn’t necessarily mean a rough finish. An easy today doesn’t guarantee an easy tomorrow. We do our best, we reap the beauty and we deal with the storms that life can throw at us. Or at least we try.
Every day is a new journey. A gift. A chance to start over. To get it right. (Maybe). To invite a friend along. Or invite a few, the way I did with my Holy Trio: Father. Son. Holy Spirit. I needed all three when I fell apart in that airport a year ago and I’ve realized that I need to invite my Travel Buddies everywhere I go, every day. We need each other, too. And we need our truest selves. Because even the most familiar places can also be tricky to navigate.
This I know: The journey is there for our taking. Arms wide open. Embrace life and the living of it. This day. This moment. This now. It’s all yours. It’s all you really have. Enjoy what you can. Ride out the rest. And know you’re not alone. We travel together and I thank you for that. Blessed companions, all.
Volare, y’all! And if this resonates, pass it on to someone who could use some good vibes.