A Diversion into History

We took a diversion into history over the past 30 days or so. Now we feel like the kid in the Gary Larson cartoon who raised his hand in class and asked, “Mr. Wilson, may I go home? My brain is full.”

What kind of diversion did we take? We played tourist and visited 10 different countries along the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea. These included, in order: Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, The Vatican, San Marino, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, and Turkey. Three or four of the smallest countries in Europe, and some large ones as well. And we learned some things.

Most of these countries stand upon layer after layer of civilization. Rather than ignoring that history, they teach it for the lessons it contains. In fact, we felt as though we were in an immersion class on the history of western civilization, organized by geography rather than chronology. Take the Minoans, for example. How did they rise to power and what happened to them? The ruins of Troy form a layer-cake of nine successive cities built upon that one site. How do archeologists tell the difference between one layer and the next? Carcassonne, Messina, Sibenik, Kotor; they all have tales to tell. How do the pieces fit together? It is clear that history is much more complicated than we learned in high school, back in the days when high schools taught such broad topics in a broad way. And it is clear that history is not random. If you have eyes to see it, God is in control.

We also learned that most people have a lot in common. No surprise. Children laugh and play, workers do their jobs, people value things like life, marriage, families, honest work, and friends. Governments often represent a different set of values. We get a different perception of a nation from the people than we do from their governments. Again, no surprise, and that seems true for the US as well.

More thoughts later, maybe, after we have a chance to triage our photos and organize our observations. Regardless, we apologize for the relative silence of the past five weeks, and will push forward.

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