Hello from sunny Beirut, Lebanon!
It’s been a quiet week on the blog and anything-but in real life.
Due both to lack of consistent wifi and an intentional choice to put priority on in-the-moment living, I skipped posting entries this past week (aside from Monday’s Portland/Bologna piece).
If you follow our updates in the Daily Travel Journal or read our flying tweets, you probably have a pretty accurate up to the moment sense of our location. Since the end of May, we ferried east from Italy, spent time in a quiet corner of Croatia, over-landed through a slice of Bosnia on our way to Montenegro, peeked at Kosovo out the window on our night ride to Macedonia, and hopped by plane from northeastern Greece to Cyprus en route to our June destination, Lebanon.
If you judge solely by blog entries, though, we’re still in Italy.
This is my conundrum in travel writing. Time unfolds so full and fast that I possess more stories than hours in the day and more photos than I could possibly share without turning this into a family slide show fiasco.
Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing a blitz of final Italy posts before moving on to other countries. In some ways, the best are last: a mother and daughter hosting us for a delightful “untour,” photos from blue sky days in Pisa, an Italian Job visit to Venice, and moments of rest in Assisi and Sirmione. I hope you enjoy the reading and photos as much as I enjoy piecing them together.
This weekend, I’ll leave you with photos and thoughts from yesterday’s beautiful day at the Lazy B beach just south of Beirut.
My college roommate Jodi has been living and working in Lebanon for the past two years, and she’s kindly pulled us into a non-stop wave of hospitality since our Friday morning arrival. Her congenial group of expat friends and co-workers have welcomed us into the mix, and in 48 hours’ time we’ve shared in local 961 microbrew, mouthwatering mezze, iced coffees, beachside milkshakes, rooftop barbecues, and sobering conversation on the present day Syrian conflict and the history and future of this piece of the world.
Enjoy the snapshots from our skyscraper departure to greet the sea…
Bethany, Ted & Jodi at the seaside cabana…
Yesterday, in the slow pace of time on the shore of the Mediterranean, I read Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” glad for a calming title from Jodi’s lending library. (It’s a short read; the full text is online.)
The chapter on Love caught my heart.
Ted and I have been working through conversation after conversation about reality and life and committed living, and the truth is that love and trust can be deeply painful. And love and sacrifice often go hand in hand. How beautiful it was to be reminded of the rightness of it all through another’s words.
Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
God has been good to us. Bringing peace, allowing, providing, teaching.
Thank you for caring about us and our journey and for following along as we learn and grow. Enjoy Italy this coming week, and meet me here next weekend for a real-time update on daily life.
Comments are closed on this post, but if you want to say hello or send a note, we’re always checking twoOregonians at gmail.com.