Lunch in Rome

I am in Rome for a few days for a meeting, and had a chance to have wonderful lunch in a beautiful Roman piazza with Bruce WIlliams, an old Dominican friend. It is good to circle back to old friends and familiar places. Better to do this over good food and wine in such a picturesque setting. He and I had lunch in this same place about two years ago, as I was on my way to somewhere (always).

As we dine, I remember my first time in this piazza. It was my first time in Rome as a Dominican. 1997, I think. Another meeting, and lunch plans that had changed because this particular restaurant was closed today. I stood in front of it for a half hour in the pouring rain waiting for Don Goergen to come to tell him. But I didn't mind. I had been wrestling with God, asking for a sign, or some scrap of insight about a new position I was being asked to take. God was less than forthcoming. I was more than stubborn. I just stood there and waited, in the rain, for God or for Don. Whomever came first, I would let decide the issue for me. Neither came for the longest time, but I wouldn't let it go. Perhaps a wiser soul would at least moved under the eaves, but I had a bone to pick with God. Finally, when my righteousness abated, and I remembered patience as a virtue, God showed up. For just a second, but that was it took.

Don showed up thirty seconds later, wondering why I was so stupidly and happily standing in the rain. It was rather hard to explain.

I told Bruce the story this other time in this piazza, as we were sharing the twists and turns of our lives. We lingered for hours, as old friends can, talking about everything and nothing.

As we finally left the piazza, it started pouring rain. Of course. As I walked slowly back to Sta. Sabina, I took my hat off and felt the rain, noticed how it brought out the subtle colors of Rome, reveled in the love Bruce and I had shared, and cried at the beautiful life God had given me.

In heaven, I am sure that there are old friends, good food, and rain.

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