Last night I heard a sermon that spoke about waiting for God. Waiting for him to answer. Sometimes I feel like I have been waiting all my life. But recently I realized that 9 years ago, I met a friend. And that friend recently told me about his friend that ironically was going to Italy one day after me. For a few months. To travel around without a plan. Sound familiar?
Well, this friend of a friend knew someone that knew a family in Italy; in the Arezzo Tuscany area to be exact. And that person, now traveling in Italy a little south of me, told me about that family. I stayed with that family for one night in Arezzo and they made a significant impact on me. Remember that story? About the hero in Arezzo that works with the women that were forced into prostitution? Still following? Starting to sound like a happenstance?
Well that family invited me to a week long workshop in southern Italy at the end of October. I didn’t know much about the workshop really. But I definitely felt a tug inside that I was supposed to be there. So, in true Jessica style I told her I would go…without knowing much about it.
The end of October arrived and I took the train to the middle of nowhere in Italy where a couple of Italian men picked me up in their van to drive me truly to the middle of nowhere. The side of a hill where there was a building that was used for summer camps for children and workshops like this. I entered the building and found 10 Italians that were also taking the workshop, and 2 UK women, and 2 French citizens that were leading it. I was the only American, and the only native language english speaker.
I quickly realized on the first night that this was a group therapy session. “What the heck am I doing here?” I thought to myself that first night. “I am totally fine. Ok, well maybe I can help some other people…I am good at that.” And then we hit the first couple of sessions. I started to get uncomfortable. I thought about leaving.
But then it started to rain. Hard. Thunder and lightening. A huge storm that lasted for a few days. It knocked out one of the bridges that the trains used. It also felled a large tree into the road we would use to get to the train. Remember before when I said that the rain seemed to keep dictating where I was supposed to go or stay, such as the case when I was in Naples?
Ok then, I’ll stay.
I have not written because I needed the time to process what happened that week. How much to share. Because I learned a lot in that week. I learned about myself, and how to open up to a deeper level. I learned that it is hard to be vulnerable. Easier to bury the past or the present pain. Anyone else know about doing this? It seems to be a good survival technique.
During the first few days, I felt like I was physically ill. That there was a poison deep inside me that was suddenly rising up. I felt it working it’s way from my stomach, to my chest, to my throat. At one point, when I finally realized what it was that I had buried there, I ran into the dark rainstorm and screamed into the rain. Sounds crazy right?
But when I arrived I was totally fine. In fact I thought to help others, because that is what I do. Sometimes we do that. We bury those things that we are afraid to find out about. But they are there, and they affect us. Sometimes they affect those around us too.
It is much easier to say. Hey…that person…they need help. They really need to look at themselves and realize they don’t have it all together. But until I say that to the mirror, nothing can change. We can’t change those around us, you’ve heard it before. So why do we keep trying?
Love those around you, and love yourself enough to change.
That’s the key. Give yourself the time to run into the rain and scream if you need to. And then realize that the waiting time can be for that. A time to face it, whatever it is. The morning after I screamed into the rainstorm, it stopped raining. And the sun shone brightly. The sun always comes after the storm is done.
9 years ago a step was prepared for me to take some other steps. That brought me to a rainstorm in the middle of a hill, in the outskirts of nowhere, in the south of Italy. This was my time to grow; to stop waiting. And the invisible steps that happened were there all along, all through the waiting. Then I realized that I was never waiting, I just wasn’t ready to hear it yet.