We are off to Rome this weekend – and I am so excited! Now Rome in the middle of August will probably be sweltering hot but Rome is always wonderful. My brother Niall and sister-in-law Fritzie are in Ireland from Chicago for a couple of weeks and had decided to visit Rome which prompted our decision to travel with them.
We don’t often get time with them, certainly not a block of time like this and I am looking forward to that.
We have some plans – the Colosseum on Sunday when we arrive, the Vatican Gardens and Museum on Monday morning – but after that Danny and I have said we just want time to wander, potter, sit in a café and watch the Roman world go by. We spend most of our days living according to schedules. Even over the summer, apart from the routines of work, there is a constant stream of “I need dropped to training/a match/work/a friend’s house” from our two kids at home.
So, for Danny and I, Rome needs to give us some time out from schedules.
I am not good at doing nothing. I get edgy if I’m sitting in the house. I feel like I should be doing something worthwhile. I had some time off at the beginning of June however and with the sun shining I developed the ability to sit in the garden – and relax. I might be reading a book or having a chat or simply sitting there feeling the sunshine and the breeze. It was wonderful.
The word that came to me was ‘recreation’ – not that I was simply having a good time but that I was being re-created, reminded of who I am, stopping long enough to realise that I was actually deeply at peace.
I’m hoping – perhaps madly – that Rome in August will offer us some of that sense of peace and recreation. Danny and I celebrate 25 years of marriage in September and had decided that we would treat ourselves to a few days away together. We have rarely gone away, just the two of us. Maybe a night away now and again but as our children have grown up it has become much easier to do.
I cannot quite believe that we are married for 25 years. That seems like an awfully long time and I don’t feel old enough but our daughter who is twenty-four is living proof!
Now seems like a good time to stop and reflect on where we have come from, what our journey so far has been and to consider where the future may bring us.
We are not far from being just the two of us again, when our youngest goes off to college in a year’s time. There was uproar in the house one of the days over the summer when Danny and I headed off together, leaving the rest of them behind.
Our girls have no bother taking time to go off for dinner or out on a date with their boyfriends but the idea that their daddy and I could do that provoked something of a reaction. But Danny and I need to nurture our relationship – and the Rome trip is part of that.
The Gospel at our wedding was the Road to Emmaus – two on a journey, encountering Christ, recognising him in the breaking of bread. Going to Mass in St Peter’s, visiting other churches at our leisure will be part of our time in Rome. That element of Rome as a place of pilgrimage is important to us.
So, we are off to the Eternal City in search of time – time for laughter and craic, time with Niall and Fritzie, time for good Italian food and wine, time to wander, time to pray, time to talk, time for us.