Pieces of Europe

Wow…what a trip. What can be said about a whole month of adventuring in Europe with your best friend? I went to Europe somewhat apprehensive–I think I was afraid of being disappointed. I didn’t know just what I would find, but I was hopeful. I found so much, but now my biggest fear is that I will forget. I’ve been back here in the Shire for over two weeks now, and I’m learning how to keep my hear alive here for a while, how to keep journeying and adventuring. I don’t want to forget.

This little Mennonite girl from a small Midwestern town was stretched and challenged in ways that she never imagined. I was given experiences that I will hold in my heart forever, and i brushed against people’s lives in ways that I will never forget. I learned and saw so much. God showed me things about myself, and I got some crash-course training in some unexpected and difficult areas. He showed me so many things I still have to learn. So many things to hold in my heart. I just don’t want to forget.

There were countless memories that I can’t even begin to document here, but I wanted to take little things from every country and try to incorporate them into my life here.

The way they do coffee in Italy…

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  Tea, scones, growing herbs and lavender, journaling in the sunshine and flowers from England…

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Old books, crepes and intellectualism from Paris…I wanted to buy all the old books from the venders beside the Seine, but didn’t figure that would be wise considering I just had my backpack!

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Bikes, flowers and Dutch Pancakes from Holland…

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I loved the Eastern European fashion style of Prague (go thrift-store shopping!!)

A renewed passion for Jewish History from Germany…

Music from Vienna and Salzburg…

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Sometimes when your a music student it’s easy to be so busy treading water that you forget how much you actually love to swim, if you know what I mean. Going to the opera and ballet were amazing!

Europe is beautiful. So beautiful. And there were days when my soul rested. I needed that. But just like any place there are parts that are harsh, dirty, and unpleasant, and there were times when my heart was not at rest. One of the problems for me when I’m surrounded by so much beauty is that it can be very distracting. One of the things that continually kept coming back to me is the simple fact that Jesus is everything. That is the long and the short of it. In Holland I started to feel something like bitterness creep into my spirit. There was so much beauty everywhere I looked and the people there got to see it everyday. I had to leave, and it didn’t seem fair. But then we went and sat by the canal in the sun and I looked at Jesus again, and the words came back. Jesus is everything.

I was a little worried about coming home. Would all the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve seen make coming home miserable? Amazingly, I think it has actually settled my heart. I’ve learned that there is beauty everywhere if you are willing to take the time and look for it. You can have adventures wherever you are whether or not you are trouncing around London in the rain, hiking a mountain in Austria, or clearing off tables at a cafe in Middlebury, Indiana. A few things I’ve learned are that, while the lights in Paris at night are incredible, the fireflies in the field across from my house look like diamonds in the twilight. Journaling with a cappuccino in a cafe in Italy is wonderful, but so is making my own cup of blueberry coffee and sitting on my front step in the early morning. Listening to a cellist play in the courtyard of the Louvre at dusk is exquisite, there is something wonderful about teaching a young violin student in my basement. Journeying, adventuring, and keeping your heart alive…

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So, I think the key to keeping one’s heart alive is simply this. Jesus is everything, and you can have Him no matter where you are. Just take His hand and go adventuring together–it will be the trip of a lifetime.

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3 thoughts on “Pieces of Europe

  1. Beautiful, Dee. Thanks for the glimpse into your amazing trip, and I loved your final comments–you CAN find adventure anywhere, especially when you’re willing to follow Jesus. Love it! 🙂

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