Last week, Good Friday found me away from home, attending a friend’s wedding in Virginia, with nothing to do until evening. Since I was in Charlottesville, I’d been told the one thing I must do was go to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
I can now say, I agree. If you’re in the area, you might not want to spend the six hours I did, but you must go to Monticello.
Small secret about me, I am a tour junkie. I love taking tours and am the tenacious person who attaches herself to the guide’s side. So, I was I in one of my happy places – and truth be told, had left three others I’d met from the wedding party when they were already 15 minutes late and had their own vehicle.
“This is gorgeous!” I gushed to the ticket seller at the welcome center. She smiled, handed me the ticket and told me to hurry to the bus since the tour would start soon.
The bus drove us up the hill to the Jefferson’s house. At the top, I toured the house, joined a free tour of the gardens and fields, made a weekly skype call to a group of women who live around the globe (spread round the world made it too tricky to change the time), and took another free tour on enslaved people at Monticello.
Needless to say, the range of topics bouncing around inside of me was vast and paradoxical. How does one reconcile Jefferson being against slavery, yet owned slaves? How do I reconcile the paradoxes in my own life?
After walking down the mountain (ok, more of a hill), all I had left to do was see the movie at the welcome center.
I sat off to the side of the front row and two boys around eight years old sat next to me, their mother in the row behind even though there were seats available. They were wiggly in a delightful boy way.
The movie was what you’d expect. Well done, informative, hitting on Thomas Jefferson the man, the politician, the product of the enlightenment, and his interest in exploring and experimenting.
It ended with a small tribute to the power of the ideas contained in The Declaration of Independence. Copies of different constitutions and political movements from around the world flashed on the screen. India, France, Haiti, Abraham Lincoln, Yugoslavia, The Berlin Wall, Liberia, Vietnam.
Remembering it was Good Friday what struck me was the universal longing for life and liberty and from the Cross, Jesus cried, “It is finished.” These longing for life and liberty run deep and are God given and God honoring. So much so, God was willing to die so that we might be freed from sin and have life.
Yes, we are still entangled in the ramification of a brokenness and sin; thankfully we are no longer enslaved to the law, left to our own efforts.
Though not a traditional church service, God had met me (and maybe those boys?). Life, liberty, and pursuit of redemption is His heart beat for the ages.
Where have you been met in an unexpected way this week?
P.S. With Cassi, the happy bride, the next day (after touring James Madison’s home and paying for an extended tour with extra information on the Constitution)
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Amy L Sullivan says
Okay, I love that you are a tour junkie. I have never been, but in the last few years that has changed…age maybe? But now I find tours wildly fun.
Somehow, though we’ve never met in person, I think you’d be near the front with me :)
Mark Allman says
Monticello is only about 2 hours away from us. It was long ago that I went there. I need to go back for I would enjoy that tour again. Thomas Jefferson traveled through the area I live in and commented in one of his writings about our landmark here call Falling Springs. A very nice water fall. I’m glad you got to visit Virginia.
I will say, Mark, being out in VA, I was a bit jealous of the potential places to visit in person. Of course I can always read about them, but to visit in person … let’s just say, we don’t have those kind of opportunities in CO (we have plenty of good opportunities, but not those).
~ linda says
You are so right! I have lived in Virgina/DC twice in my life: first time when I was 10-13, then returned as an adult when I was 39-41. I loved being there where so much history is on display for all. My mother was a “tour freak” so got all of us kids to giddy-up any chance she could to go to the Mall, Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Smithsonians, art museums, and anything else she could find. Then upon my adult return, she came and lived with me for 1 1/2 years of those 3 years and thoroughly loved being back there again. She took me so many places again and I appreciated them far more the second time around. Then we had another opportunity to be there this past Sept. for Mama’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery where my Daddy (Navy doctor) is buried. So my youngest sister and I saw and did what we could in the days we were back there. It has wonderful memories for us. Mama always said that every American should live in Washington, DC area for at least one year of their lives. She was right! Glad you enjoyed your time there.
Glad I came by, ~ linda