Changing perspective

January 20, 2009 | Italy

Since about a year ago or so, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the idea of getting to Italy in the not-too-distant future. “Italy by 50” has been my motto, giving me about four years to make my dream come true. I read books about Italy, watch movies set in Italy, looking longingly at photos of anything to do with Italy — landscape, art, food, you name it and, if it’s Italian, I’m interested.

Part of my desire to go to Italy has to do with the fact that I’ve worked for the Church for so long and have yet to visit the home office. Part of it has to do with my more recent fascination with all things Franciscan and the urge to experience Assisi for myself, and part of it has to do with my Italian ancestors and my need to walk where they once walked and to witness my heritage first hand.

I was going merrily along with my “Italy by 50” plan, when all of a sudden, without warning, I did a 180 for reasons I still can’t put my finger on. What if getting to Italy doesn’t really matter? What if I just take Italy off the table? Does that make my life here less than it is now? No. Does it mean the rest of my life won’t be full enough? No. I’m not sure where this new perspective is coming from. The best way to describe it is a feeling of folding in. I don’t mean that in a negative, self-defeatist sort of way but in an unencumbered, realistic way. Rather than feel disappointed by the fact that I will most likely never get to Italy, I feel a sense of quiet neutrality, acceptance, even peace. I don’t know what to make of it, really. I find it all kind of curious.

Now, if someone handed me tickets and told me I could go to Italy tomorrow, would I go? You bet. But I don’t feel a driving need to figure out how to make it happen anymore. If I’m meant to get there, I guess it will happen some day. I just don’t think it’s likely and, for the first time in a while, I don’t really mind. I think it’s called detachment. Wish I could put that into play in some are areas of my life.



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