The Camino de Assisi.
The Way of St Francis.
Italy: From Florence to Assisi, then on to Rome. Trek For A Dream.
Post 15: June 26, 2018, Tuesday. Did Stage 13 today in Sandy Brown guide, Gubbio to Maria Theresa at Agriturismo Valdichiascia.
I left Gubbio today. Gone 16 days. Day 14 on The Way.
I was attacked by a wolf today.
Doubt. Do any of you remember the sermon Charles Nieman gave years ago on “doubt.” He compared doubt to the rattlesnakes he would occasionally have to deal with in the backyard of his El Paso Texas home. He said it is as bad and as dangerous as a rattlesnake and went on to say why. Can someone ask him if he still has the notes from the sermon? Whew! Doubt hit me this morning. Why am I here in Gubbio, Italy?; What am I doing?; What was I thinking?; Challenges from home at the office; markets in turmoil; friends telling me I’m not raising much money on my fundraising trek; what am I going to do with the rest of my life, why why? what what? when? did I hear God? Mercy!!! The wolf was at the door . . . and then . . . to make matters worse . . .
Yes! To make matters worse, I overslept (I hate that)(I should have been on the path by 6:30 a.m.), so I wander down stairs to breakfast where I’m staying and there were about 30 people there and all I do is–look! for coffee, and a server, Vittoria (knows me from yesterday) comes to my rescue with an Americano, and I sit there and the music over the speakers is kind of a little loud, but it was perfect, and I see this young couple going through some “stuff” and the song in Italian is perfect because it is so damn sad, like really sad, and I’m just getting totally depressed because I see this young couple breaking up and I swear she starts crying and then I start a tear or two, and then, oh no! I can’t believe it, she stands up and just joins in the song, “El Regalo Piu Grande,” by Tiziano Ferro (I learn later), and Amaia Montero, and she’s really singing, and then, yes, a few others join in, and then, well, they all join in, and I’m looking for cameras or something, what’s going on, and they are all . . . singing, then the guy starts singing, . . . and just keeps going, and the song is just so damn sad, and it’s all over, life is over, there’s noooooo hope, no reason to ever go on with anything . . . why why why . . . and when the song fades, no problem the next comes on, and everyone keeps on singing . . . Non me lo so spiegare, Tiziano with Laura Pausini, and now, both are crying and everyone keeps singing, and Vittoria is singing and looks at me and asks: What are you doing in Italy? And I say I’m on a fundraiser trek, and she looks at me, . . . and then really looks at me and says, “Thomas, I saw you yesterday, so sad, what’s the matter, don’t you know, don’t you know? . . . how, how!, (and she really looks me in the eye) to enjoy life. Sing with us.” And I’m so sad, so depressed, and I have no idea what everyone’s singing about, and worried that the couple are going to break up, that my fundraiser is a failure, that I was abandoned yesterday, that I’m always always always alone . . . and then I worry that that was not really what Charles Nieman was talking about, so now I’m really depressed, so . . . I determine that later on I would go talk to . . . the wolf of Gubbio, and make peace with him. And resolve not to publish this post.
So, I later learn that I’m staying at some famous place where movies and such are filmed and this kind of things happens, and the one, the only, reason I stayed there was because the day before I walked into Gubbio with Severino, Rosa and Gabrille, or whatever her name is, and when we get to Gubbio–they tell me–they are just going to keep on going. Really?? You got to be kidding me, come to this amazing and historical city where so much played out in St Francis’ life and then . . . —– just walk out? So there we were in the Piazza Grande in Gubbio, and all I do is throw my backpack through the front door of the Hotel on the Piazza, called: Relais Ducale-Fattura, and a woman looks at me, Vittoria (later introduced to me) and said: “italian italian italian something something, blah blah . . .” and then in decent English: “I like your confidence. You can stay.” And so I had an amazing twenty-four hours at Gubbio, and when I left Vittoria and I agreed that if we remember each other by the time I get to Rome, and my fundraiser is not a total failure, she would come to Amereeeca, and we would get married. And I know I need an intervention. And to learn Italian.
So, that’s how my day started, today, in Gubbio. Then I went to visit the famous statue of The Wolf of Gubbio, and went through the same thing Francis did when he met this marauding wolf who lunged at Francis with bared teeth. Francis made the sign of the cross the wolf stopped and listened and . . . to the amazement of the townspeople, Francis spoke quietly to the wolf and they reached an agreement, which I will have to come back to in another post. The wolf that attached me was: doubt. About everything I’m doing. But, I went and spoke with the wolf, or, better said I spoke to the wolf, and meditated on Mark 11:22. And, I reached and agreement with the wolf, and myself. And like Charles said, I constructed a snake fence along the perimeter of my mind. Never, let doubt in. Never.
So, don’t give up on me. After that, I made it to the Church of St. Francis and was able to lay out the Prayer Cards, and myself and a monk prayed over them, and I was worried that my prayers were a little weak because I accidently had a good morning although filled, for a shore time, with doubt. But–I got over it quick, and trekked all the way to Maria Theresa at Agriturismo Valdichiascio. Where I’m writing this. More later.
Prayer Cards laid out at the Church of St. Francis.
St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio.
The monk I prayer with.
It makes you wonder.
Me, and Severino.
And, a page from my guidebook.