Captain's Log: Sottomarina

Morning dawns. We rise. A new day awaits. We rise slowly. New possibilities beckon. We rise stiffly yet determined to greet the new morn. Lazarus come forth...we rise.


What awaits us? Heraclitus once said, “The only thing consistent is the consistency of change.” After yesterday we know nothing will be predictable on this trip--unimagined possibilities flirt with our new widening horizon. What an exciting adventure--on our way from a slumbering Florence to the autostrada and gathering clouds ready to baptize. Rain falls and Venice awaits. The students sleep unconcerned and unaffected. Marcel carves the slick roadways with the exactitude and fluidity of a seasoned surgeon, Viki nourishes me, with the devotion of a saint, with copious Cappuccino, and I proclaim, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”


Three hours later we enter the region called Veneto (lush, fertile, agricultural lowlands surrounding Venice). As if orchestrated by angels, the sun begins to peak out from the clouds as the winds decide to clear the stage for sunny day. This will take awhile but we are learning the newfound value of patience. Just before noon we arrive in Sottomarina--a summer getaway community of Italians ,who escape to the white beach sands of this paradise on the Adriatic Sea. Not a foreign tourist to be found (we are the obvious exceptions). Our hotel stretches its arms seven floors above the beach and a beautiful pool--the water is warm but the winds are strong--a wind surfer’s delight. Red caution flags are out on the beaches. No problem. Bring on the pool. The girls bob or recline, the boys prefer to strangle each other underwater. Come on Heraclitus--some things never change.


We decided a few days ago that this would be our day of sabbath. We will rest, renew, recreate, and re-calibrate as best we can--each student deciding how they might do this in their own unique way. Our emergent appropriation of this ancient practice is under construction. I couldn’t muster any creative energy so I tried the old standard--I conked out on the my bed and hibernated. Many hours later we began a discussion of the first chapter of the book “God is Closer than You Think” and we read chapter one of Mark’s gospel together for our early evening devotional time together. God was close indeed. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” What a feast! 


Feast number two: Kendra and Kayla remind us of the restaurant their brother Chris found years ago. It’s a short walk...but we’d walk a mile for this place. What a wonderful evening of laughter, pasta, laughter, pizza, laughter, frutti di mare (literally fruit of the sea=local seafood), laughter, gnocchi, and more...(can you guess?)...laughter. The Psalmist said, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Bring on Goliath! We’re ready to rock and roll! Only one thing can ever slow us down now--three scoops of Gelato times 16. Next to God and boyfriends, the girls talk of Gelato more than anything else. Can you blame them!


It’s time to say good night...for all but me (and an occasional lobby appearance of Formolo and Smith). I seek the ever illusive well functioning internet connection. Eureka--I found it! Me, my MacBook Pro, a Moretti, and a few thoughts converge with the  website as I try to give birth to the Captain’s log. I hope you enjoy my random, stumbling, bumbling, spontaneous stream of consciousness. I feel a bit naked with my thoughts exposed in micro-seconds around the world. If I embarrass myself, please cover my shame. But this really is fun. See you tomorrow...may the wind be always at your back. Still in one PEACE...David. 


Note for Parents: Thank you for blessing me and this world with such special young men and women. Blessings indeed.

We don't always understand all the signs and symbols in Europe, but Stephanie found a lot meaning in this one. She took this picture herself.

Look at her smile--wheelchair and all. That smile is contagious. What a leap of faith to get on that plane. We can all learn from her courage and commitment. Notice that John is always nearby--great brother, great guy!

Don't they look great? I think Formolo might be sleep walking...but he looks happy.

I know. I know. This is not Sottomarina, but the students wanted this--one of their favorite pictures--included. There you go.