Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lost in Rome

Of all the places we visited, Kelly and I will probably remember Rome most vividly, not because it was our favorite (although it was incredible), but because we got so lost we almost missed our ship. Most of the time, we enjoyed being rebellious enough to find our own way at each stop. But this time it backfired.

beautiful ruins
The Capitole
After a one hour train ride, we got to Rome just before noon. It would be a challenge to see the sights and get back on the ship by 5:30, but we set out in high spirits. We had four specific places we wanted to visit – the Capitole, the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, and Trevi Fountain. The streets of Italy are not laid out in a neat pattern of north, south, east, and west. And every so often they throw in a five or six street intersection just to keep you guessing.

Still, we were enthralled with the ancient splendor around us; every building exudes history. First, we reached The Capitole, an impressive conglomerate of statues, fountains, and patriotic fervor. Like two cows in an international herd, we marveled at the first century ruins on our way to the Coliseum. Cold rain soaked our clothes as we paused at a section of the Roman road – where Apostle Paul and Luther once walked. The Coliseum, where many brave Christians became human torches or lion food to entertain the masses, loomed beside us.*

Roman Road

The Coliseum

We bought an umbrella and kept moving; it was getting late. We had to give up the Forum and head for Trevi Fountain before it got any later. Our umbrella blew inside out. No bathrooms anywhere. But we kept winding our way through Rome. Every once in a while we saw a sign and raced eagerly ahead like hound dogs on the scent of their quarry. Then another intersection would throw us off. Eventually we huddled together in a gathering of multicolored, multi-national umbrellas to admire the magnificent fountain.

We cried halleluia as we squeezed into a pizza shop for shelter, the best pizza in Italy, and a bathroom break. Thus fortified, we began the trek back. We followed signs to the “Termine” for an hour and a half to catch our train back before realizing we were at a subway terminal on the wrong side of Rome!

Trevi Fountain

Vatican Square
Praise God for the wonderful Italian man who told us what subway would get us to our train station. After six flights of stairs and three long hallways we got on, but still managed to get off two stops too early. After completely circling the Vatican, we boarded our train and made it back to the boat just in time to collapse in grateful praise. I have to admit there were several times along the way when I wanted to sit down and cry.

I can’t help but compare this experience to the millions of lost souls in our world who desperately need Christ. They are in danger of missing the boat. Some stray in rebellion, others in ignorance. Many don’t understand the Christian language well enough to follow our directions. Some have a map, but need help reading it, or get lost at every intersection. Some try other routes thinking they know a shortcut to heaven, and end up more lost than ever.

If Kelly and I had missed our boat it would have been expensive, frightening, and inconvenient, but we could have met the cruise ship at the next stop. However, for those who do not find Jesus in this life, there is no alternative. I may not know my way around Rome, but I want to spend my life as a signpost to Christ. “I [have] one message… the necessity of turning from sin to God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…Life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love” (Acts 20:21, 24).

 *I thought about this when we watched The Hunger Games later on ship – an excellent commentary on our society’s hunger for reality shows that entertain us with the pain of others.


  1. This was a great posting! I lived in Rome for 3 years so I can just picture you both navigating the streets!! You could entitle your story...."A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"..... Am so glad you made it to the boat on time! What I loved best though is how you wrapped it up, the analogy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh...you are so bold. I love your storytelling ability. Thank you for sharing with us. Dell

  3. Thanks ladies. I'm glad you enjoyed our scary adventure and the takeaway. God got us through safely.

  4. Beth I enjoyed looking at your pictures of Italy and your stories too. Wow what an experiance you had.

  5. You had me sitting on the edge of my computer chair with anticipation and trepidation. I could totally relate to the urgency of going the wrong direction in such a foreign city, but knowing you and Kelly, and God would, and did, prevail'!

  6. Yes, thankfully God did get us through! A few scary moments though.

  7. Beth, Loved this post about getting lost in Rome. I could see you and your hubby dashing through the streets pell-mell in the wrong direction. I enjoyed the humor of the situation, and you are right, it's the exceptional experience, even if it's not the nicest one, that's most memorable. And your analogy to those who miss the boat because they don't find the way to Christ before it sails, was spot on. Good job.

  8. I love Rome! Should have given you a map to help. Haha Good analogy.

  9. It was amazing. Yeah, right, thanks for that.
    Thanks for commenting.