21 February 2005

last night i came back on a train from milan. we went to como on saturday. both were amazing places i had yet to go to in italy. como is right on como lake, and 5 minutes from the border of switzerland. it must be beautiful in the spring and summer. milan was more my heart beat. the most modern city in italy with a subway system with the likeliness of new york's. it snowed in milan- it had yet to even rain since i have been in italy and the first dat of weather brought snow. it was pretty beautiful seeing flakes falling infront of il Duomo. the dreariness of the day was a bummer but its ok b/c when my family comes the week before my spring break we are goin to all go back to see the last supper (for future reference- you have to make five day in advance reservations). when i was in the duomo my eyes were automatically drawn to the tables where you go to light a candle and say a prayer. the other churches we had been to so far had fake candles that you twist into light up but there were real white candles this time and there was such a deeper sense of intimacy in the melting of the wax. i felt God's presence for the first time since being here. i watched the flames flicker in between closing and opening my eyes, trying to embrace the intensity i felt in the moment. i was lead to write a poem. as my friends allie and alyssa, who i traveled with, had come to ask my if i was ready, a man had rolled a trash can up to the tables to take away and blow out the candles that had reached half their height to clear room for more visable prayers.
on the train i was listening to a song by ben jelen that my sister put on a mix for me called 'setting of the sun' on repeat and this one part says, 'the reason why we remain unknown is b/c we live our lives till we come undone- we just have to believe.' i didnt take this as being unknown to others but i took it as never coming to know yourself. 'he wakes to find he's out of love again' 'please would you save me, ill lose my way, please would you help me to escape.' this song is a cry that comes familiar to me. feelings of falling in and out of love with the Lord, and being deceived into thinking that only if i run away, will i hear Him call for me.

il duomo
by lauren d'auria

people of
every age and color
at one table
the sound of
metal against metal
as coins drop,
paying penance
for a holy candle.
among others
i sit and watch
as the
flickering flames,
lit in hope,
suposedly wave away
our problems.
sympathy arises
in the smoke of the
united attempt,
yet tears fall
as do the
visable prayers
of melted wax.
songs resound
echoing heavenly rounds,
as a man comes
to distinguish of the
long lived candles
to make room for
the cycle that

even though we didnt get to see the last supper painting we did get to see an amazing salvidor dali exhibition that was all his little bronze sculptures, etchings, and lithographies, there were some huge bronze sculptures too and my favorite one this this one because the explanation behind it was mujer desnuda subiendo la escalera, 'the woman is searching for the never ending infinate. winless, she climbs the steps of the endless spiral, even though from the beginning, she knew that she would never reach the top. but going up is more important than arriving'

and we also went to this restaurant called 10 corso como and it had the most fabulous ambiance and was the most amazing restaurant/cafe/art gallery/bookstore/store i have been to yet in italy. in the gallery there was this exhibit called 'blue' and it was all based on the contour and shadows of this one womans body. its hard to explain but the pictures were really high contrast and all in blue shades. some of them you couldnt tell that it was a woman b/c they looked more like landscapes. but there was a quote on the wall that said,

'in a shadow of moonlight, a dewdrop slowly forms a shape.
with a transient life till morning lifht come again.
a night after night, a year after a year.
is a fraction of a second, one thousand years pass thought a dew drop.
is the corner of the darkest shadow, time flows eternally,
and and existence dissolves into the the shadow, slowly...'
-kenru isu

15 February 2005

God sees the big picture of why He put florence into the list of my hearts desires and why i came here for a semester. that story is being unfolded each day as it comes. i do really feel like God is resetting my foundation in so many ways in the underground- the unseen has to be worked on first. its funny how ill catch myself encouraging another in the Lord the same way i need to be encouraging myself. i just cant seem to speak the truth that applies to me too into my own life sometimes. i am not beyond the charity of God. 'God, teach me and i will hold my tongue, cause me to understand b-c forceful are right words and my arguing has yet to prove a thing!' (job 6:24-25) i say 'i will forget my complaint and put off my sad face and wear a smile but i am afraid of my sufferings (9:27) but who can say to you 'what are you doing?' (9:12) trusting God is one of the hardest things -even though faith in the unseen is what i claim to be living for.

for lent i am giving up reading any other books than the bible. the lover of wisdom and truth is the literal meaning of philosopher. like a person who sees the horizon- no matter how fast they run they can never get there. but it is about moving in the direction of truth, always in the pursuit of process and learning, not about reaching an end.

Job 11:13-18
prepare your heart and stretch out your hand to me, if iniquity is in your hands, put it away. you can vbe steadfast and not fear because you will forget your misery and remember it as the waters that have passed away. your life will be brighter than noonday. though you were dark, you would be like the morning and you would be secure b-c there is hope

ive really been seeing how God pulled me out last semester, of ministry, to minister to me, and this semester he pulled me out, of all that i know, to cause me to lean on how he has ministered to me. and He doesnt want me to read any other books than the Bible b/c i have relied on them so much and so easily. on the bus trip to and from Nice i was listening to Hillsongs and my spirit yearned to worship. it ws like a breath of fresh air to my withering soul. i miss having a church family.

the first night of reading my bible after not reading it for months- i had a dream of being at a feast and feeling satisfied by the food that was provided for me. i felt like God was showing me what he has had waiting for me this whole time- at the banquet he personally invited me to. i didnt feel a condemning word of 'see, this is what you missed!' but i felt a loving, welcoming word of, 'i love and missed you!' i didnt realize how much i was starving for the word until i got that taste in my mouth again. you know?

'as i look upon your name, circumstances fade away. lost for words with all to say, Lord you take my breath away, but still my soul crys our for you are holy. Your glory steals my heart' -hillsong.

This is like having the realization of- 'can you search out the deep things of God? can you find His limits? they are higher than heaven-what can you do? deep than sheol-what can you know? their measure is longer than earth and broader than the sea' (job 11:7-9) the goodness of God is an endless continuous mystery that even when we contain all of the knowledge and love of Him that we possibly can- we know that there is more. this causes our soul to also continuously be crying out for more, to never be satisfied, but just like the philosophers goal- to continue to press on for what is ureachable, but be a lover of truth. so the feeling of discontentment is not bad- it is a normal indication of your sensitivity towards Gods leading. discontentment should become your comfort and passion to lead you on to more and more levels of God. so do not mistake this feeling for a withdrawal of Gods hand or that you have done something wrong.

14 February 2005

the streets lined with individually
uniquely beautiful ancient architecture
that stands tall, remaining as they
were meant to be seen, uncomplimented
by the 21st century age of fickle fashion.
they, pleasantly compacted and divided
by walls of tall shadows sing of history,
telling stories of time past
in a language of love.
the little old lady, accompanied
only by the memory of her passed husband,
is disrupted peace by the loudness and mishap
of what would be the age of her
disrespectful grandchildren,
as we prance the streets thinking we bring
something of value to this already developed culture
that does infact go on well after we leave.
i speak softly- ashamed
that i con not return proper comunication
and understanding to those who have seen
no other life than that of italy.
this weekend we went to the french riviera to nice, france. it was the carnivale there too and there was an amazing huge parade and the weather was great. i wore a tshirt saturday. the bus ride there was gorgeous. nice is right on the Mediterranean sea which i had never been to. so i had to take off my shoes and socks and put my feet in. there is no sand there but there are all pebbles and big sea rounded rocks. the water sounds really cool as it washes back out. we ate crepes from breakfast and had real french bread sandwiches, we went down to the market which is one of the biggest flower markets and there is fruits and vegetables too..and i had read about this lady named therese who is the 'queen of the market' for her socca which is a chickpea crepe. it was amazing and there was a really long line and i got the last one of the day! we also went to the matisse and the chagall museaums..both were amazing. right infront of the matisse museaum was a huge park and we sat at a little cafe and i had chocolate croissants as we all watched this little french girl count '1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9!' and jump off a bench repeatedly..we would yell '7' as she skipped it and she laughed. nice the city looked really modern, more like miami then france, there were alot of palm trees and shops and casinos right on the boardwalk. this was also our first hotel experience so far ..we stayed in a 2 star hotel but it was great. there were 6 of us on three bunks. there was a window in the room like in peter pan! some pictures are up!

11 February 2005

i have some pictures up from my ventures as of now

08 February 2005

by lauren d'auria

aimless i walk the large coble stepping stones
of culture shock and nowhere does it say,
'you are here' on this map of identity city.
i dont know which bus to catch,
which bus driver to trust with my direction.
nouth sorth wast eest
wouth eorth sast nest
scusa, which was to affirmation?
make a right at via della confusion,
go through piazza de frustration, and
as you cross the bridge of surrender,
look both ways as you cross the intersection of trust.
my bed feels so warm in this unknown city,
but the loudness seeping through the ceiling
always forces me to explore.
the soundtrack ive put to my life
is the only familiar thing
because all i know is far beyond a train ride
and if it could be reached,
the key won't fit into the door of this season.

i love the view from the window in my room, it reminds me of the view over the farmers market in downtown richmond. 'by and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. we have grown up. we have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. we get blase and worldly wise and sophisticated'-brennan manning. the world and my life here is so different and surreal but at the same time it could be just as easy to take this opportunity for granted and live in a 'been there done that attitude'. 'everyday we stand on the threshold of moral ruin, with everything at stake, the hour has struck for bold and resolute decision making. Lord dont let me prudently wrap my faith and deposit it in a hermetric container and seal the lid shut to then limp through life here in florence on spiritual childhood memories or resolutely refuse the challenge of growth and spiritual maturity.' i dont want to lose what you have entrusted to me thus far.
being here also makes me realize how amazing my friends are back home and how much i miss them. its really hard being somewhere and not knowing a local that can really show you around. i think a city- no matter what- up to a certain point, is only as fun as the ppl you are with there. ive been realizing how much affirmation i get from how many ppl i know and now that i dont really know that many i feel like i am losing my identity. it shows me how much i havent found my security and joy in the Lord.

5feb- carnivale 2005, venice
the streets were covered in confetti and packed with ppl and mostly everyone had on either a mask, face makeup, or a costume. i bought a mask and joined in. there were some ppl that went all out and made these extragavent detailed costumes. they were always surrounded with ppl taking their picture. streets were full of street performers, ppl playing intruments, and even lots of kids in costumes. venetians were all around yelling 'trucca!' offering to do your makeup. there were so many ppl that there was no room for even the pigeons to land. these girls i met- alyssa, allie, and kate and then me and aimee went to a bar 'Harry's' and alyssa treated us to balini's (a peach/champagne 14€ drink that the bar is famous for). after that we mainly wandered around ppl watching and taking in the beauty of venice. we crossed the rialto bridge and went to the opera house and warmed up with some hot wine.

6feb- Pisa
it ended up being the carnivale there too but it was directed towards mainly kids. lots of kids were running around in costumes and throwing confetti at eachother and spraying silly string. we went to the leaning tower, inside the church and saw the baptistry (the cupcake), went to the best gelateria in town and saw keith haring's tuttomondo mural (his last piece before he died)

7feb- YAB (you are beautiful) a local club
dana our roomate is friends with a club promoter, fabio. and she got us into a dinner which included water, wine, and 4 courses and desert. it was amazing food. all the tables were set up on the dance floor so after we were all done around midnight they broke everything down and the DJ started up. first there is always time that the breakdancers go at it..that was really cool and i got alot of awesome pictures. we left after that around 1. and fabio told me that dreads are big in italy.