Anyway, this Lenten season instead of giving something up I've been taking something on. I've been praying my way through the countries of Europe. Slightly haphazardly I read a bit about at least one country every morning and then pray for it during the day. I say haphazardly because there are more countries in Europe then days in Lent. Also, I realized several days in that the list I was going by hasn't been updated since 2003 and there have been new countries born since then. But all the technical difficulties aside I have been enjoying this!
Coincidentally (and by that I really mean providentially) I've just happened to be reading Neither Here nor There (travels in Europe) by Bill Bryson. So not only have I had a bit of history and prayer points for each country, I've also had a personal account of travels through a lot of them. (And of course it doesn't hurt that Bill is just so darn funny!) Now his journey was in the early 90s so the list of countries is even more outdated than the list I was going from. For instance I'm currently reading the chapter on Yugoslavia.
Speaking of which I wanted to share this hilarious excerpt from the beginning of that chapter, one of many that has made me laugh out loud:
"The lady led me down a complicated series of steps and sunny alleyways, full of scrawny cats. It was the sort of route you would follow if you were trying to give someone the slip. It wouldn't have altogether surprised me if she had asked me to put on a blindfold. Eventually, we crossed a plank over a narrow ditch, made out way across a grassless yard, and entered a four-story building that looked only half-finished. A cement mixer was standing by the stairwell. I was beginning to have my doubts. This was just the place for an ambush. 'Come,' she said and I followed her up the stairs to the top floor and into her apartment. It was small and plainly furnished, but spotless and airy. Two men in their twenties, both vaguely thuggish-looking, dressed in t-shirts were sitting at the table in the kitchen/living room. 'Uh-oh,' I thought, casually sliding my hand into my pocket and fingering my Swiss army knife, but knowing that even in ideal circumstances it takes me twenty minutes to identify a blade and prize it out. If these guys came at me, I would end up defending myself with a toothpick and tweezers."