There’s this picture that I have framed at home that reminds me of a special day. A moment in time I will never forget. It’s a portion of a bike, the one you see to the left. Let me take you to that day …
I visited Rome, Italy with a friend last fall. We had six days filled with pizza, pictures, and people in masses. It. Was. Delightful! On the final day my friend and I decided to go our separate ways for a few hours. I had been doing some research on Trip Advisor that week and REALLY wanted to rent a scooter. Hello Audrey Hepburn. I had envisioned a scarf-adorned up-do with large sunglasses and an ice cream cone in hand whilst whipping through Roman traffic. Well, not really. But the thought of driving a scooter in Rome sure appealed to me! Everything I read online however cautioned against Rome traffic with eager foreigners and I ultimately opted for safety over adventure.
Feeling a little bummed, I received a text from a friend in London about it all. He said the most brilliant thing that set me free to do what I pleased that final day. He said, “As long as you remember some things are coolest because Lani found them at 4:58pm with her own wind.”
It may not have been a scooter, but it did have two wheels, a basket and a dingling bell that made me smile! So, for several hours on that sunny Friday I was the happiest girl on a bicycle meandering Rome’s cobbled alleys as I passed pizzerias and leather shops. I nearly hit several people in my glee-ish state, but I didn’t even care. Scusi.
After I risked my life winding through some traffic, I decided I’d better stay on the quiet and narrow streets of Rome! During my bike escapade I stopped in Piazza Navona . This square of artists and musicians is surrounded by restaurants and the waiters stand outside, charming and beckoning you to enjoy their services. Cappuccino per favore.
I leaned my bike up to the restaurant while he steamed me a delicious beverage, and then took this photo. Coffee break, I call it.
I sat by the fountain outside the restaurant sipping my latte and enjoyed the live music. I was soon on my way towards the river, as that was my destination. After bartering for two purses with a persistent man on the bridge and nearly being attacked to purchase said purses, I turned around towards “home”.
On my way back to the bike rental place, I stopped in a leather shop and bought a purse. I was excited and savoured the Italian leather smell. About 20 minutes later, I stopped at a cash machine to get more Euro and as I reached into my backpack, my heart stopped. My camera was gone. My first thought, rationally lacking in rational, was that it had been stolen blind off my back. I kicked myself mentally and started saying “Jesus. Jesus. NO! My camera. Jesus.” Glee was gone. My camera and the whole week of memories were ruined.
As I walked (yes, walked) my bike past the crowds surrounding the Pantheon, people stared. Mascara running in streams down my face no doubt. I returned the bike, paid my 10 euro reluctantly, and found my friend. As I talked through with her when I last used my camera, I remembered the leather shop and thought maybe, just maybe I had left it there. To me it was a miracle, because half an hour later we retraced my sobbing steps back to the leather shop, and lo and behold there was a relieved sales lady holding my camera. How we ever found our way back there is beyond me. Thankful for honest Italians, we hit up an espresso bar and ate some chocolate. As you do 😉
That day two wheels and a map of Rome, with no specific plan, will stick with me always.
You know, I think God sets in each of our hearts little things just like that. That makes us smile. It’s like a little gift meant just for us.
Psalm 139 talks all about how He has intricately woven our hearts, and knows our every thought. He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are deeply known and created with such love and intent, that I think it’s a shame if we live our lives with the wind knocked out of us.
That bike picture will always be a reminder to follow my heart and of my God that sees much more than my eyes can see.
Whether it’s meandering happily on a bike, or something else that you need to find that makes you smile like it does for no one else, then do it! Try new things. Because I believe that even along the way, God is with us in that pursuit and makes it so memorable.