Today I roam Assisi alone. The city is on a mountainside, overlooking miles of farmland. After our visit to San Damiano church, where St. Francis himself first took up his ministry, we individually began our hikes back up to the city of Assisi. For the first time on this trip, I truly felt my pilgrimage coming to life. As a descendant of both German Catholics (mother’s side) and French Huguenots (father’s side), my journey has been one of truly attempting to dissect identity, specifically my own.
During my journey through Assisi, I encountered three South Korean girls about my age, who were self-proclaimed tourists. Through conversation and sharing with the one who spoke English, I learned that she too was a Christian, and we connected on many levels. I spent about half an hour with these tourists, and what I found changed much of the way I view tourists. They took their time everywhere they went, and were in awe at the beauty they witnessed. They greeted every nun they passed with respect. Though they weren’t on a proclaimed ‘spiritual journey’, they too are finding parts of themselves in travel; enjoying the world. I find that many of us, in travels, come to despise tourists.
Just as I can be both a descendant of Huguenots and Catholics, we are all inextricably bound in each other’s humanity. Just as St. Francis knew: we should learn to love, and not to judge. Where there is hatred, let us sow love.