During many moments of heart-ache, longing, fear, uncertainty, great anxiety… that trip was the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel for us.
And, as it turned out, the trip symbolized the (almost) end of our long-distance romance and the (almost) official beginning of our life together!
Buzzing with excitement, though separated by great distance (Washington, D.C. and Al Hilla, Iraq), we plotted out all the details our trip according to the cities we’d visit: Rome, Florence, Venice.
But even with all the meticulous planning, Googling, and tour-book reading, we couldn’t be prepared for how amazing the country was. We’d both been to Europe before, but never together, and never to Italy — and seeing it for the first time, together, was just awesome. I could devote twenty posts to that trip, but I want to share a little anecdote from the day before we got engaged.
October 3, 2005 found us in Florence, and we were exhausted after walking/sight-seeing for days. In addition, the weather was horrific — unseasonably freezing, and rainy. We’d been drenched in Rome a couple times the previous three days, and when we got to Florence — for all its beauty — it was equally freezing and rainy.
(All the cute new skirts and dresses I’d planned to wander around Italy in … yea, they never left my suitcase. We ended up bundling up in the same light sweaters we’d packed over and over, and had to buy leather coats to stay warm!)
Anyway, we got to the Duomo , which is Florence’s cathedral, and we were just zonked. Once inside, however, we were mesmerized; we did the tour and started to perk up, even though outside the sky was dark and gloomy.
A couple hours later on our way out, I noticed a sign offering visitors to climb to the top, which was something a friend of mine who had studied in Florence had told me we just had to do.
My husband wanted to pass — his feet were killing him, and he was spent. But I encouraged him that we should do it, when else would we be here?!
So we made our way up the gazillion stairs, tripping a little along the way, and needing to stop to catch our breath a couple times. (It’s like 400 stairs or something). And once we got going, we just wanted to get to the top — which everyone said had the most incredible view of the city.
Um, they weren’t lying!
Within moments of getting to the outdoor overlook (when the picture at the beginning of this post was taken), the charcoal sky changed before our eyes.
The clouds parted … the sun came out … and a rainbow appeared.
We literally couldn’t believe it. After days of cold rain, suddenly we were overlooking all of Tuscany, bathed in the warm glow of late afternoon Italian sun.
It was the most surreal moment, one not lost on either of us (or any of the other tourists up there!)
I share this story today because in many ways I think of recovery as I felt while climbing those stairs … it’s painful at times, I’ve tripped along the way, needed to stop and rest at a ledge … but the view at the top is worth everything.
Ultimately, there is an end in sight, and once I get there — completely — perhaps another rainbow will await me.
Until then, I need to keep climbing the stairs of recovery. I feel like I’m almost there; the only wars I’m waging are in my head as I deal with my weight and emotional eating — a far cry from where I was a year ago.
I feel blessed to have the love and support of my husband, family and friends, but this is something I really need to do on my own, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
What keeps me going is the possibility of seeing another rainbow, one that might shine even brighter than that awesome rainbow we saw in Florence on October 3, 2005.
How about you? Where are you on your recovery journey? Still climbing? At the top, enjoying a rainbow of your own? Hanging by a ledge? What keeps you going?