Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For his "vacation"

Sunday two weeks ago in the foothills near Ponticella, overlooking Bologna. Image credit.
 The ward members in Bologna are among the most generous people I've ever met. Maybe it's an Italian thing. They always want to feed you or have you to their house. The past two Sundays we've spent eating really good (read: "It's the best you have ever had, right?") food with ward members and friends. It makes Sundays here feel a bit more like Sundays back home.

Last week we went to Pioppe di Salvero (just minutes from Marzabotto where the infamous Marzabotto massacre took place during WWII) where we had lunch (the largest meal of the day. As in, three courses. As in, I loved it so much) with a few families from the ward. The home we at ate used to be an old hotel and restaurant in the center of town. The main floor was a dance hall, trattoria and small shop. Upstairs, where the family now lives, were the hotel rooms.

The patriarch of the home is slowly renovating the main floor. The dance hall was turned into a preschool years ago. His wife used to teach 1 - 3 year-olds. (Now, he told me, there aren't enough kids to ever have a preschool). Another portion he finished for an apartment for his daughter and her husband. But the shop and part of the restaurant have never been tackled. This week he's taking on one more room.

"This week will be my vacation'," he told me. "I don't go to work. I stay here and finish this room for storage. The prophet says to have one year of food for storage. I think, I have the space. Why not make a room for storage?"

And, whamo! I learned something about sacrifice. In a tiny village of only about 500 people, a member of the church was taking a week off to make a room for his food storage. (As as serious as the Bolognesi are about their food, it's no wonder why it's so big and going to be so beautiful. He even has some little glass details poured into the concrete walls). And did I mention he was born with limited use of his hands? And has a limp? When he was born the doctors told his parents he wouldn't ever walk.

I was put in my place when I saw the devotion that this man has to following a modern prophet. I immediately wondered what my problem is?

Why can't I take a few minutes off to pray more sincerely? to study more earnestly? to serve more diligently? Those are the bare bones of devotion! Food storage is so out of my league right now.

I think I grew up a little more on Sunday. I realized how immature excuses are. I understood a little bit better that we are in control of our actions, and consequently, in control of where we are going.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Sometimes I think -- it takes quiet. Shut ourselves away to pray. I fill my life with so much stimulation, it's hard to "be still and know that I am God." I really wonder about my children. Do they have a chance to know quiet? Older folks still remember a time before constant kinetic communication.

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