I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
We have had the privilege of meeting several people in the last few weeks. We've asked questions and heard their stories. We've shared meals, drinks, laughs and time. Each person, whether singularly or with a family has had their own journey. They have taken risks and followed their hearts. They have jumped off the proverbial cliff. They have exhibited COURAGE.
From where I sit tonight- a few weeks ago- I wasn't sure I could make it up the hill to Cortona with the kids alone- but I did and I'm so grateful. Had I let my legitimate fear paralyze me I wouldn't have experienced precious moments or long lunches, breathtaking churches, views that bring tears to your eyes and time spent with three of the most beautiful people I know.
If I can take a step back for a moment (because it would have been easy to let my fear infiltrate me), if you read Letter To Me post you would know that this last year (or so) has pulled, pushed, tugged and hopefully refined us in ways that I wasn't sure we would make it through (that is not attention getting behavior- REALITY) BUT we did...and we will. So, deciding to come here was not only an exciting gift (in most ways) it was also like I was adding salt to my wounds that were just scabbing up- because once again I was heading for the uncomfortable place that I have been trying SOOOOO hard to get out of: The UNKOWN.
After arriving in the land of romance and beauty- I was not sure that I, personally, could be who I needed to be for my kids- a mom (kind of important don't you think). I was so concerned with being lonely (for my guy) and possibly wanting my own mom (serious baby) or family to help me feel comfortable- that I was struggling to let them know that we were in for an amazing adventure. (SERIOUSLY? These are the moments I have a REALLY hard time with myself.)
....And then the blessings were so abundant. I remembered that I alone don't have the tools or capacity to do this by myself.... it would be provided. We have been gifted with friendship beyond what I ever imagined from old friends, new friends and of course family that has comforted me to help me be 'mom' so that my kids can experience beautiful people, fairy tale landscape and have memories and relationships that will forever be their own.
A few examples of this very thing are our timely invites from our new friends-they have invited our family on dinner dates and play times that have made us feel so welcomed. Our friends parents-he has called to see if we are ok, come to check in, and taken our boys up to experience great things-invaluable. The other day (the day Jon left) when I was seriously ugly crying all over the place- the gate buzzed. I, at that moment (thinking it was a delivery man) was like I can't go talk to anyone in Italian (especially since all I can say is CIAO-pathetic) right now (seriously not a good moment for me). In the car outside the gate, however, was a friend. His parents live in the neighborhood, he just wanted to say HI to the kids and I!!! At that very moment I KNEW that we were being provided for and that this path was prepared for us. Who was I to second guess? Did I mention the amazing food? UHM this food is a huge blessing and amazing comfort... because uh well it's great food.
I took some time, encouraged by others, and realized that my fear and loneliness fails in comparison to OUR experiences and the people we are having the privilege to get to know. Tuscany seductively tantalizes all of your senses but the real gift is in the people that have captured our hearts. Our path has been prepared. When this journey takes us back to our home I pray that the courage that it took to say yes will have provided the seeds that will bare the fruit of relationships for a lifetime to come!