Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When in Rome

Happy are the people whose strength is in You, 
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5)

I have yet to come up with a better way to describe the state of my heart--it is indeed set on pilgrimage.  Set on pilgrimage around Europe.  Set on pilgrimage with Jesus.  I am determined to be teachable.  I am determined to be delight-able.  I am determined to be present in each moment.  I will enjoy the beauty of each statue, each building, each person.  I will listen closely to all Jesus would say about His world, His people, His heart.  
I am in love with Europe.  Madly in love.  Here is a little glimpse of my Journey to Roma and my first days here:

Lauren’s parents drove us to the airport on Saturday, May 26.  We got on a 5:30pm flight and flew to Paris.  My plans of sleeping all 8 hours of the flight failed miserably, but  I think I may have fallen asleep for an hour or two between 10 and 12 pm my time.  We landed at what was 1:00am for me but it was 8am in Paris.  

At that point sleep didn’t matter though.  I had already fallen hard for Europe.  Mostly because of these kids.  They were on their way home to Madrid and they reminded me of Lindsey, Andrew, Ben, and I.  Drama and all.  I hope they didn't know I was taking pictures of them.  Lauren wouldn't let me give them candy.

This is the view off of a balcony on our floor.  I am becoming friends with the woman on the second floor.  We wave at each other sometimes.  Okay once.  

On Monday we went to the Milvian Bridge.  I loved learning about this in Christianity and Western Culture my first semester at Moody so actually being at the bridge and hearing Dr. Litfin teach about it again was such a full circle moment.  

My Best Roommate ever.  We are loving life in Italy.  Friends, oy! :)  That was for you Laurenita.  

After the Milvian Bridge we went to a park that had a beautiful view of the city of Rome.

Here are all the ladies of our trip, including our lovely tour guide Christina, on the Spanish Steps.  This is where artists used to gather in Rome.  Now high end fashion shows are held here.  Gucci heels, Prada purses and all.  We were rocking our Keds and backpacks.  

After dinner, Tuesday night, some of us went to see the "Colosseo" (Colosseum) all lit up!  As I thought about all of the Christians who died in the name of Jesus right inside this magnificent structure, I kept thinking, "Jesus, you are so worth it."  To worship and obey, whatever that requires of us, it is worth it.  To know Jesus, no matter what the cost, is worth it.  

Tuesday morning we did not have class and instead headed out for an inside tour of the Colosseum during the day.  The wooden floor is no longer there so the cells underneath that held the animals and the prisoners are visible.  Such a magnificent architectural structure used for such ugly purposes.  

Here is the Arch of Constantine.  It is a military memorial that was dedicated to Constantine in 315 AD by the Senate and the people of Rome in honor of Constantine's victory at the Milvian bridge.  

We toured Palatine Hill but I would need a whole separate blog post to explain all of the awesome history there.  Essentially we saw the stone foundations of houses that have been dated back to the 8th century BC and ruins from Caesar's palace from the 1st century BC.  

Here is Titus' Arch.  It celebrates the victory of Titus over the Jews when Jerusalem was conquered in 70AD.  

The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine.  And even more importantly, some friends.  

Oh, you know, just some Italian pizza with a beautiful friend in front of the Colosseum.  We were re-fueling before a tour of some churches in Rome.  

Here is where I am going to have to exercise some major self-control.  I want to write out every little thing that I learn about the three churches (and one Baptistry) that I saw but I won't...for now.  But I'm not promising that there won't be a more comprehensive post to follow about the churches and how they made me feel.  

So in short, here is St. John's Basilica and Constantine's Baptistry which is connected to it.  

Getting some history for Dr. Litfin inside of St. Johns.  

And finally, St. John's from the front.  
"How lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord of Hosts.  I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord.  My heart and flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1,2)    
If these earthy churches are breathtakingly beautiful, I can only imagine what the real deal is like!  

This picture was taken outside of The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme).  

Inside was this plaque which reads (in abbreviated Greek) "Jesus Christ, the Victor".

And, definitely one of my favorites, Jesus smiling while holding a book which says, "I am the light of the world."  

We ended the day at the Basilica di san Clemente.  This was my favorite!  It was a church, on top of a 4th century church, on top of [what was probably] a 1st century house church.  And we got to see all three levels!  When on the 1st century level, I couldn't help but think about the believers that could have met in the room I was standing in.  The same faith.  The same hope.  The same Jesus.  If there wouldn't have been other people down there I would have started dancing, but since I was not alone for long I just envisioned us all dancing before Jesus together one day--in pure adoration of the One who is our very life.  

We passed the Colosseum once more to get to the train, so I took one final picture.  Absolutely breathtaking.  

Wednesday (today) we had class at breakfast at 7:30.  Every morning I wake up and look forward to the cappuccino that I will enjoy with my Italian pastry and fruit.  In fact I think of that cappuccino several times throughout the day.  At 8:30 we headed to class and then headed to the ruins of Osvia (an ancient Roman port city) at 1:00.  

Johnny and I and our matching stripes.  

We found a 2nd century sewer tunnel in one of the houses.  Kory, Chris, and I crawled through (40 yards) and found this opening at the end.

Our little archaeological selves found this pottery in the tunnel!

Best Italian memory so far.  Crawling through ancient sewage tunnels.

Well, it's 11:13pm and I am sitting in the lounge of our hostel with some friends.  Its time for me to start reading for class tomorrow.  If I'm lucky, we might go grab pastries and coffee before we continue reading.  

So many more European posts to come!  Thanks for reading. 

(No time to check for spelling because I REALLY have to pass this Pauline Epistles class...)
(And a huge thanks to Lauren and Jin for the last 4 phtotos. You ladies are incredible photographers.  I don't know what I would do without you.)


  1. I can't wait to read more about your adventures, Chesney! I'm so excited for you!

  2. Did you just say that crawling through the sewer tunnel was your favorite thing so far?!?! That is the traveling Chesney Crouch taht I know and love!! I am smiling as I type remembering last summer in Guatemala and what a joy it was to watch you embrace every experience with your whole being! I'm sure you are bringing the same joy to your friends in Europe. I KNOW your Jesus is smiling!! Love and miss you Chesney!!!!

    PS - This is Lisa by the way.... =)

  3. I love reading about all your adventures!! Brings back so many memories for me :) I love your heart so much, Ches. God is so beautifully glorified through you. Don't forget to find a white v-neck somewhere ;)

    Love you! Miss you! Breath in every moment :)