Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Curiosity & Key Chains

That morning as I drove into Valdese, I fully expected God to show up, to do something. I've lived with my curiosity and exploring nature long enough to practice it practically as a spiritual discipline, and God usually humors me and shows up through it. (I believe he's a bit of an adventurer himself!) 

But as I entered that sleepy little town, not knowing a soul, not much happening, and having difficulty with the accents, I was having second thoughts.  I munched a McDonald's salad in anticipation of the Trail museum opening at 2, pondering anew the proverb, "Curiosity killed the cat."  This won't be a fruitless visit, will it, Lord? 

Absolutely not, he seemed to respond.  With the arrival of Yvonne and Lisa, I knew the adventure was about to begin...

Sylvia cued up the video, and we watched the history roll on until she returned to shoo us out the door; the rains were coming, and if wanted to visit the re-created Waldensian village, we'd better hurry.  

Off we went.  While we explored the living museum, Yvonne and Lisa grilled me with questions, and I dredged up every shred of information and anecdote I could find in my memory banks, aided by the monuments and sites that had been re-created here.  

Surreal and touching to find reproductions of Il Colegio, the Church in the Cave, Waldensian artifacts, photos, memorabilia--even the haystacks assembled like the bonfires of Bobbio--all divorced from their context in the Alps.

Here is the seminary we visited high in the Angrogna Valley, where Waldensians studied for centuries, memorizing Scripture before descending the mountain to bring the Scriptures orally through Europe: 

And Valdese's version:

Pretty eerie to see such close reproductions in the relative flatness of Valdese, while remembering a steep drive and climb up on a snowy mountain in Italy.

How about this one: the Valdese reproduction of a cave church we visited, and one of our student's entering the real one in Italy:

We kept shaking their heads as we talked.  For every question, I had details; for every plan, suggestions.  Lodging?  Forterocca!  Eating options?  Jane's trattoria, and give her a hug for me.  And have her take you to Silvano's for a coffee.

They made mental notes of my download and I made my own: where would this trail lead?!  For now, the museum was closing, and we had one more stop.  We prevailed upon Sylvia for the bathrooms, prayed for one another in the cafeteria, and thanked God for connecting us.

In conclusion, Sylvia returned with key chains for us--no divine appointment complete without 'em! 

Next stop: The Waldensian winery!