There used to be a great Italian restaurant nearby. The owner was an Irish guy (go figure) who adored All Things Italian. He traveled to Italy often to get ideas and ingredients for his trattoria. When my wife and I planned our first and long-delayed trip to Firenze, we asked his opinion about how to proceed. His advice was to start by taking one of those ubiquitous “hop-on, hop-off” double-decker bus tours. That way, we could get an overview of the beautiful city and with that background decide where we wanted to return to.
While those buses struck us as a might touristy, we took his advice and were glad we did. We rode all around the ancient city and found places we never knew about. When that tour ended, we returned to the locations that most appealed to us.
But even that wasn’t enough. When we returned home, we realized there was yet more we wished we had done. This is actually a pattern for us. We return from any trip and think of all the things we wish we’d done more, better, or at all. Part of this is a product of time constraints, but mostly it’s ignorance. If we ever had a chance to go back to any of those places, we’d finally know what we were doing.
I’ve recently awakened to the fact that my whole life is like that.
Now that I’m older and the great majority of my life is in the rear view mirror (where objects are closer than they appear) I’m just beginning to get the hang of it. By the time I’m dead, I’ll be ready to start and get it right.
Or will it?
There are no double-decker buses for life. We have this one vacation on Earth to get it right. What we envision coming after that is determined by our world view. If life is followed by complete annihilation, who cares? No harm, no foul.
As a follower of Jesus, I believe that the best is yet to come. My hope is in Him. Further, my hope is that all I’ve learned will make a difference in some cosmic, supernatural (i.e. His) way. And there will be no MS. That’s why it’s called heaven.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue trying to hone those skills that make life more of a joy to myself and all those I share this planet with. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a chance to put that hard-earned knowledge to use during my next, and much longer, stay.
After all, as Larry Norman famously put it, I’m only visiting this planet.