I’m going to tell you a story about the day I almost missed something amazing because I was looking for something ordinary.
It was feeble and LAME, and if it hadn’t been for my husband’s intervention, I’d have come home full of regret, kicking myself for being so stupid and short-sighted.
We had travelled to Europe for some Pastor’s Conferences and were staying in Austria.
An opportunity to go to Venice for a day came our way and off we went on a 4 hour drive into Italy.
When we arrived in Venice I was armed with a Guidebook that suggested buying Murano glass. There was no time for the excursion to the factory, so I picked the second recommendation, Lace. I set off along the narrow stone streets looking for lace. Darting in and out of little shops with my feet barely touching the old terrazzo floors. I was a woman on a mission.
When I realized the shops were closing for the afternoon, I made a hasty, albeit expensive purchase and felt the door close against my backside as I walked out.
Triumph! I had a beautiful large tablecloth and 12 napkins.
I had visions of it gracing the large dining table at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then in years to come it would go to one of my girls for her Holiday table.
Tradition and sentimentality are potent mind-bending agents.
My husband had tracked me down on the Rialto Bridge and reminded me we had just 2 hours until the bus left.
I couldn’t believe I’d spent 3 of the 5 precious hours we had in Venice inside small shops hunting for lace.
But Gary had made a plan to make a real Venetian memory.
He’d spotted a pizza place and knew where to catch a water taxi across the canal to The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
We bought pizza and ate it as we crossed the main canal leaving Saint Mark’s behind in the taxi’s wake.
The church had a campanile and that was Gary’s Everest.
The day had dawned rainy and though we left the rain in Austria, the clouds had been with us all day.
But as we reached the top of the bell tower, the sun began to cast a bright spotlight that washed the main island in afternoon’s golden light. The Doge’s Palace was brilliant white and Saint Mark’s Square glistened where the puddles reflected the light like hundreds of miniature lakes.
I’m including a link to a great panoramic photograph of what we saw that day. It’s etched in my memory and as I stood wrapped in my husband’s arms looking out across the canal I knew this was the Venetian memory I’d cherish.
But that’s not where this story ends.
When Thanksgiving rolled around I used my Venice lace tablecloth and napkins. Of course gravy and cranberries got spilled and I had to try to get the stains out of my precious keepsake linens.
So after carefully removing the stains and laundering the linens I began ironing the napkins and then the huge tablecloth. I was at the 3rd corner when I spotted the tag.
Made in China.
Whatever you’re chasing after, please remember that you might just be missing something so much more valuable.
An opportunity with your kids, a beautiful moment with your husband or wife, or simply time to let your soul breathe.
I got a second chance that day in Venice.
And it made an impression on me.
Oh, I still get caught up in my own little world and blow the chance to see my grandson pitch, or meet my daughter for lunch. But every once in a while Venice comes into view and reminds me that the truly amazing things in this world are the people we love and the life we are sharing with them.
I struggle sometimes with priorities.
I have great intentions, but the little decisions I don’t realize I’m making sometimes gobble up the opportunities to live out my priorities. It happens when I let too many other things into my life. The time wasters that speed up the hands of the clock and tear off the pages of the calendar.
It’s a matter of the heart. I want to live an examined life.
I don’t want to get back on the bus and know that I settled for something ordinary and missed something amazing.
Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (TLB)