I don’t know how to say ‘holy smokes’ in Italian, but holy smokes! Roma e molto, molto bella! Last night and tonight we roamed around the city (no, mama not by myself!)…if Fontana di Trevi, Piazza di Spagna, Pantheon, or Piazza del Popolo are more beautiful in the sunlight than they are at nighttime, then I certainly cannot imagine it. As I sit here and try to get a few quick thoughts on paper with my glass of frescati, a man plays the piano and sings, and although I have no idea what his Italian words mean, surely he must be describing some kind of beauty.
There are dozens of thoughts I would like to write about, but I only have a few short minutes on the computer (I already spent about 5 of my 15 minutes reading about the Indians/BoSox games…I brought my Tribe shirt to Rome with me to wear during the World Series…regardless of the unfortunate outcome of the ALCS, I will still proudly wear it!)
With my short time, I will quickly share with all of you a few of the thoughts I shared today in our discussion. There are so many intelligent, passionate people here who have dedicated their lives to the work we are doing-I think that that in and of itself is such an inspiration. Being here, I am filled with this sense that I hope I find something I want to dedicate my life to, as so many of these wonderful people here have. They are truly changing their corners of the world.
Michael and I were both a little nervous when we got up to speak in front of all these extraordinary leaders today, but my thoughts were something like this-I don’t know a small fraction about the historical context of inter-religious dialogue that any other person here knows. In fact, until the past few months as I prepared for this trip, I can’t even say I really understood why the work I was a part of was so significant- it just seemed like a given. My reason for playing a part in this work was pretty simple …I was just trying to do my small part to be a good neighbor. Xavier does such a job at guiding its students to discover how to give of ourselves to others, and quite honestly I just thought our efforts in promoting inter-religious dialogue was just a small piece of this big puzzle of being loving, open-minded folks. I think we are taught at X that there should never be an “us” and a “them”….just an “us.” That being said, I am hopeful and faithful that much of my generation, regardless of what specific knowledge we have about any relationship or issue or circumstance, will still strive to quite simply be good neighbors to our brothers and sisters, like us or not, in all that we do.
The man at the piano stopped his Italian songs a couple of minutes ago and is now playing, “What a Wonderful World.” It reminds me of how my dad used to give his best Louis Armstrong rendition when I would play this same song on the piano when I was younger, and I am struck tonight by how fitting its words seem. I feel so blessed to be a part of this journey.