November 17, 2019

Dispatch — Homeward Bound: October 13, 2019

Pienza, silhouetted against the setting sun

Dispatch — Homeward Bound: October 13, 2019

I am not one of those Christians who feels skittish about using the words “lucky” or “fortunate.” Some people I know feel compelled to say they are “blessed” when something good happens in their lives, and that’s okay I guess. However, it tends to raise questions of theodicy — If I am blessed, what about those times when things go wrong or even horribly wrong? Am I then cursed? What about those who do not have all the privileges, advantages, and “blessings” that I have? Am I more blessed than them? Why would that be?

So, “lucky” and “fortunate” work fine for me. From my limited human perspective, there is no accessible metaphysical reason why I should have been allowed, for example, to have taken this three-week trip to Switzerland and Italy with my wife and enjoy it to the full. And though there are increasing concerns about the impact of “over-tourism” as populations and prosperity increase, I still can’t help but feel we are among the 1% when it comes to our good fortune in being able to travel like this.

Monticchiello by lamplight

I am aware that it is due to many people in our lives. Our parents, who have supported us and provided for us generously. Our children and grandchildren, who watched over our home while we were away. Our colleagues at work and at church, who took over duties in our absence. Pastor Dan and the other writers who went the extra mile and pitched in here at Internet Monk. And a host of others.

As we fly home today, then, I am feeling both blessed and lucky. I am thankful to God, the source of all blessings in Christ through the Holy Spirit. And I am awed at what a lucky man I am. I can’t explain it all, but there it is.

I wish with all my heart that all people would be as blessed and lucky as I am.

St. Benedict blessing pilgrims who leave the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Comments

  1. Don’t know if I’m any more comfortable with something blind, impersonal, and unappealable controlling so much of what happens to us, or a God who blesses some with benefits that he does not bestow on others, but in any case, I’m glad you had a rewarding and enjoyable trip, and wish you a safe and comfortable journey home.

    • Robert, I’m simply using those words in an agnostic sense. I’m not attributing anything to “luck” or “fortune,” merely to the unknown architecture of life, inaccessible to my puny brain.

  2. senecagriggs says

    Some people tour Europe, others go to Harrisburg, PA for two days. sigh

    • Hello senecagriggs,

      if you going into deepest Pennsylvania, around Harrisburg, try some of the Amish cooking restaurants. They serve ‘family style’ by bringing bowls and platters of food to the table for you to serve yourselves. It’s quite an experience!
      Not a five-star meal, maybe, but darn good and filling. You don’t go away hungry. And not an escargot in sight!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        If you’re in Harrisburg, check out this used bookstore called Midtown Scholar…

        If you’re from out-of-area, PA has these real great eateries they call “Diners”, most of them 24-hour places. The two I’m most familiar with are Baker’s Diner at the north end of Dillsburg on Route 15 and Whitehall Diner on MacArthur Road north of Allentown.

        (And if you’re on MacArthur Road north of Allentown, there’s also a HUGE used bookstore between Whitehall Diner and the 22 freeway called 2nd and Charles almost next to the Lowe’s.)

  3. Safe travels.

  4. Hey Mike, Bob Dylan agrees with you:

    “They say I shot a man named Gray
    And took his wife to Italy.
    She inherited a million bucks,
    And when she died it came to me.
    I can’t help it if I’m lucky.”

    Welcome home. But don’t turn on the news.

  5. Klasie Kraalogies says

    I am happy you had a lovely time in Italy, Mike. Safe travels.

  6. Chaplin Mike, I completely agree with your perspective and comments on your recent travels. I am with you on the blessed description however I know people mean well when they say it but you are right on. In my career and personal life my wife and I have traveled extensively. Been to first, second and third world countries, all I can say is what lucky, blessed, fortunate but mostly undeserving to be born in a country/society that affords us such an opportunity. Glad for you and family you had such a wonderful trip and shared it. Being born in a first world great country like America is like salvation, a gift that I did not deserve or earn but should be grateful for and accept it as something gifted not earned. I appreciate Mr. Jepsen who took your place and the others who contribute here . Another good thing I have access to.

  7. Luck? Blessing? It hardly matters. The critical element is of course a response of gratitude and humility. So glad for you that you had time to embrace the rest, the sights, the people and your time together.

  8. Siempre me alegro de la buena fortuna de otros.
    Sí, me alegra mucho que haya disfrutado.
    Y Dios sea glorificado.
    ***
    Intenté traducir:

    I am always glad of the good fortune of others.
    Yes, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    And God be glorified.

  9. Nice photography.

  10. From someone whose horizons are about to be narrowed by the stupid actions of the UK Government – yes, you are lucky. Enjoy it while you can.