Europe: What I Learned from “David” and a Train Station Bathroom

On Friday the Mister and I returned from Europe.

After two-and-a-half weeks of seeing places like London, Rome, Florence, Sestri Levante, and Milan, we were exhausted and ready to be back on American soil. Don’t get me wrong – the trip was amazing! I had a blast hanging out with family and enjoyed learning about each place’s history and culture, but there’s nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed and eating food you are familiar with. I truly am a creature of habit.

As I’ve been reflecting on the trip, I have to say the Lord really used it to encourage and challenge my heart. In the midst of fighting jet lag (I’ve been going to bed around 8:30pm and waking up around 4:30 each morning since we’ve been back), I’ve had some time to think. I would say there are two experiences on the trip that seem to have had a deep impact on me:

Seeing David:

When I was attending Watermark Community Church as a single adult, one of the pastor’s there told the story of Michelangelo sculpting his masterpiece, “David”. His story, though short, was one that I have always carried around with me. He said that someone once asked Michelangelo how he sculpted David so intricately. Michelangelo’s answer, though not scientific or mathematical, was astounding. He simply responded, “I just chipped away all that did not look like David.”

"David" (Sorry for the 'over exposure.' I just wanted you to be able to see him a little clearer.)
“David” (Sorry for the ‘over exposure.’ He’s just so magnificent…I can’t help myself.)

The pastor went on to explain that God does the same thing to those who follow Christ. We are not perfect, in fact we are deeply broken, but the Spirit of God through his great love and compassion for us, works in us to create a beautiful masterpiece. How does God do it? He simply chips away all that does not look like Christ in us.

Romans 8:29 reads, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”

Sometimes I feel defeated. I look at my heart, and I am aware of just how unlike Jesus I am. I’m selfish. I love the things of this earth that are so fleeting and dumb. I care about how other people see me in areas that are superficial. I can be impatient and ungrateful. I can be quick to speak and hesitant to love.

I’m broken and am in desperate need of God’s grace.

The Mister and I standing in front of  "David"
The Mister and I standing in front of “David”

“David” reminded me that God is still working. He’s moving in my heart. He is above my sin and more powerful than any shortcoming I possess. He can change the parts of my heart that I hate – the parts of my heart that don’t represent him well.

I sure love that about him.

Peeing in a hole:

Yes. I know this is a weird one, but it’s true.

One day, the mister and I missed our train to Cinque Terre and were left at the train station for an hour or so. Part of me was bummed that we were going to waste part of our day sitting on a bench in an Italian train station, but most of me was mad that I had to use the toilet there…again.

It was gross.

Basically, the woman’s bathroom consisted of a variety of stalls all containing porcelain foot holders and a porcelain hole. There wasn’t a seat or any sort of basin to catch anything, so I was probably standing in all sorts of good stuff. By the third time I went (yes…I go a lot), my legs were burning from squatting and I couldn’t shake my bad attitude. I thought about my time in Haiti and how anything besides a dirt hole was a luxury, and then I thought about America.

As I wrestled with my own ungrateful heart and the frustration of the situation, I was reminded of how easily every day comforts cause me to forget about those in other places.

The truth is, a lot of people in this world don’t have toilet seats. They sleep on dirt floors and probably go to bed with growling stomachs. A lot of people can’t even read because they have to work instead of going to school, and a lot of people have a hard time finding fresh water…which I bathe in.

I guess what I’m trying to say (or write) is that maybe I’m too out of touch.

I think as a Christian, I’m called to be willing. Every person is led or called to do different things with their life, and therefore paths are going to look different, but I think the question I wrestle with is this: Am I willing?

If I was called to some foreign country that did not provide the comforts that some of us have in America, would I be willing? Would I be willing to sleep on dirt floors and eat “weird” food, if it’s for the sake of the Gospel?

Would I be willing to pee in holes?

I don’t know what my life is going to look like apart from today. I may never live in a foreign country or do anything extreme, but who knows!

It’s just something I’m wrestling with, I guess.

Wherever you are, look for the lessons around you. As I’m getting older, I’m becoming more and more aware that each moment is more than just a moment.

Life is short. We only have one shot at living it wisely. Cheers!


Oh yea! AND P.S. My mom’s Birthday is tomorrow! Happy Birthday, mom!