As is the love part. We love these children with all our hearts. They are a part of us, family. Just as their mother is a completely different person than either my husband or me, yet raised in our home, these two are even more different. That’s why these trips alone are so essential to us; so that we can get to know them as who and what they are, not as what we think they are, or what their parents say they are. And, at 11 and 13, a good part of what they are–eating machines. As my husband has remarked several times already this trip–this army travels on its stomach, for sure, and when they are hungry, the nearest pizzaria had best watch out. Fortunately, in Italy, there are, as my mother would say, a “gracious plenty” of pizza available. Trying to upgrade their culinary tastes, we have introduced them to lasagna. And tonight, in Assisi, another breakthrough. Eating at a restaurant recommended by Ricardo–story below–they at least tasted some of the spectacular pasta dishes on offer.
Ricardo–the proprietor of a shop we stopped in. Ricardo turned out to have spent his student years in Santa Monica and at UCLA, spends four months of the year on business in Santa Monica, and knows a few of the restaurant owners we know. Ricardo was genuinely pleased to meet people from his US ‘hood. It was as if we were fast friends already, and immediately got us a table at a restaurant that was completely booked. Now we all know that true friendships, true bonds, don’t come about instantly; and yet, his attitude was contagious. Perhaps, I wonder, if this is what Christian fellowship should be about–meeting other people who have one thing in common, a love of Christ, and then being willing and open to share that joy, regardless of the many differences in how we express it through our own cultures.
If we try, in our multitasking days, to allow one person that openness and grace, we might get a really good meal out of it.