Bellagio, Italy

It's damp, gray, and snowy here in the Northeast this month and I'm happily procrastinating on the wedding to-do list tonight. My future MIL can attest to the fact that I sat on her couch for four hours on Sunday working on lists and itineraries and liturgies, so there is no guilty conscience over here.

Instead, there are double chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies cooling in the kitchen, a candle flickering on the coffee table, a freshly shoveled driveway, and sunny photos to savor.

This past summer Michael's sister and her fiancé decided on a destination wedding in Bellagio. It was beautiful and picturesque: like something out of a storybook. Church bells and cooing doves in the rafters were the first morning sounds. The nieces and nephew ran about practicing their 'Ciao's.' The views of all the little lake towns from a kayak in the early, misty morning were worth the early morning wake-up. Jumping into the lake to explore hidden waterfalls did not result in the loss of the kayak or oars, as was feared. The bride processed through the cobblestone streets with her family on her way to meet the groom. Dancing went late into the night. Sunday morning consisted of walking into the town square for Mass. Family meals were eaten by the waterside each night.

What the photos don't capture are the plentiful, non-picturesque moments which kept us grounded in reality: such as arriving jet-lagged and cranky after dealing with motion-sickness + the back of a bus + unbelievably curvy mountain roads. The first hour of our time in Bellagio was spent walking in circles trying to find the hotel, only to be told that it had been a hundred yards away from us the entire time. The littles ones spilled gelato all over their wedding clothes minutes before the procession and under our watch. There was the elderly gentleman who didn't speak English, but smiled and held out a bandaid when he saw my torn, bleeding heels. And the hundreds of beautiful stone step which make Bellagio famous became increasingly painful with every trip up and down, making it worth the time to limp the long way around at the end of each day.

But just as Pope Francis said in his statement today for World Communications Day, life is a story waiting to be told, with everything depending on the way we look at things, on the lens we use to view them. If I look at all of it, the good, painful, beautiful, and the stressful, with joy, my favorite moments become the ones with the mishaps and allows me to count it all a blessing.

When you visit Bellagio, however, pack the comfiest, most worn-in pair of shoes you own.

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