Many years ago I attended a CREDO Team Building Retreat in Naples, Italy. At some point during the retreat, the chaplain who was leading us read the following quotation:
“The meaning of life is listening to Pavarotti, feeling the sun on your face, drinking a bottle of wine, and then another. The meaning of life is having a safe and healthy society, a happy family life, good health, a loving wife (husband), work that you like, smelling the smell of a new car and the ocean air, being able to hit a bull’s eye, coming home with the fish and not another fish story.”
That’s right, he was an Italian butcher and these words of his struck a chord deep in my heart. They resonated clearly within my soul. It’s the kind of down-to-earth philosophy/spirituality that brings me home – to myself and to my God.
As I read these words again today I am transported to my beloved Italy where everything is experienced in the moment. The senses are so alive in the Italian culture and emotions are right there, on the surface of the skin. Italians most definitely have a passion about everything they do. Even the most mundane thing is appreciated to the core.
So as I allow a wave of Italian nostalgia to sweep over me, and as I reread Carmine’s words, here are some God thoughts that come swimming to the surface.
- See the golden sunrise and the blood red sunset spreading their beauty over creation, and you see God.
- Smell the intoxicating perfume of jasmine and honeysuckle, or the aroma of freshly baked bread, and you smell God.
- Touch a baby’s cheek with the tip of your nose, or kiss the soft folds of skin on the back of his neck, and you touch God.
- Taste the exquisite flavor of a piece of chocolate, or a forkful of fresh home-made Italian pasta or exotic Indian curry, and you taste God.
- Hear the song of the blackbird in the evening dusk, or the crescendo of a full concert orchestra, or the whisper of a soft summer wave on the shore, and you hear God.
It’s amazing all the people, places, and situations where I find God. Where I can meet him head on in my day. Right now as I sit in my Florida lanai, I can hear the wind sighing strongly through the pine woods behind my home, and I hear God. The wind is picking up as we experience the outer reaches of tropical storm Ida, and the various wind chimes around my garden are tinkling and I think of heaven, and cherubs, and God.
My cat, Mokka, lies peacefully sleeping on a chair beside me curled into a perfect circle, her body rising and falling gently with each breath she takes. She is a perfect example of God’s creative powers. And the tantalizing aroma of fresh made curried lentil and vegetable soup is wafting through the sliding doors and I am reminded of ……………… my humanity and the fact that I’m hungry and it’s time for dinner!!