When I was 25 years old I backpacked through Italy by myself.
I remember the day I impatiently made my way through the Vatican. Zooming past all the opulence and history--only focused on the little signs with the arrows pointing the way.
Finally when I arrived at my destination, the sign outside said silence was required.
Head down, I walked to the middle of the chapel.
Took a deep breath.
And looked up.
That's what came out of my mouth--and the young Italian guard came rushing over to yell at me.
I was smack dab in the middle of the Sistine Chapel.
There were no chairs or pews. Just benches with plexiglass backs lined across the walls--
so you could spend your time comfortably staring.
And oh. oh. oh.
I was looking up at that amazing masterpiece I've seen over and over again--
in books and Art History 101 films.
Here I was.
In the flesh.
I made it.
So close I could feel Micheangelo's presence still.
Like he was breathing down my neck.
That night I emailed my ol' Italian Renaissance Professor and said You didn't prepare me for this. You didn't do a good job expressing how overwhelmed and moved and filled with absolute awe I would become when I looked up for the first time. You didn't tell me it would be like this.
Now here I am again.