what a difference a gelato makes

// on unplanned blessings in times of transition //

When we returned from our recent trip to Europe, the question I kept getting was, “So, how was it?!”

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” I’d respond, then laugh and explain that while it was wonderful and my lifelong dream realized, it was not without its share of letdowns and difficulties—especially in Paris.

Paris was our first stop where we encountered a bummer air bnb that was not what the photos made it out to be, rainy and cold weather for the only day and a half we were there, jet lag from the time change, and I got a shin splint after the first day from walking so much. {Among other things such as hanger.}

Don’t get me wrong–it had its magical moments. We danced under the stars to a sidewalk band, we tucked into coffee shops for macaroons and found relief from the rain with cocktails and French treats, and of course stood gazing up at that Eiffel Tower, danced in each others arms, and took {probably too many} photos.

But on the train from Paris to Florence, I definitely had a short moment of grieving the loss of the fairy tale I imagined and hoped Paris would be. And in many ways I just wanted to get to the next city already.


an unexpected stop

I was bummed to discover we had an unexpected layover in Turin. I couldn’t wait to get to Florence. But as we exited that train, breathed in that fresh air, and settled into a sidewalk cafe for some handmade Italian pizza, my soul felt refreshed and I was grateful for the stop.

We then made our way down the street to a local gelato shop where we enjoyed the most delicious sweet treat I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously, I am not exaggerating when I say that. In that moment I felt like I had arrived, like I was home, like these were my people. Like Annie my new anthem was, “I think I’m gonna like it here.”

There was something about this gelato.

Maybe it was the six-hour train ride preceding it. Maybe it was the hope of redemption to come in Italy. But I think more than anything it was the truth that it sparked inside of me—that sometimes the sweetest treats in life are enjoyed on our way to somewhere else.


an unplanned blessing

I’m such a planner. I plan my life, my days, my schedule. And I think back over this past year and how so much of it has been unplanned. How much of it has felt like waiting in the in between. There are times I’ve felt annoyed, antsy and anxious. Much like our time in Paris, I have found myself grumbling on more than one occasion. And yet it’s in this very season that I’ve experienced some of the greatest blessings.

Are you in a season of transition? Are you, too, waiting for something? Something else? Something next? A spouse, a family, a job, a dream to be realized, healing to be had?

Can you think of a gift you’ve encountered in the abyss of the “in between”? Or can you think of a past blessing you’ve discovered in a prior wilderness of waiting?

Our God is a God of provision. He knows exactly what we need. And He goes above and beyond to give us good gifts—even when we don’t deserve them.* Even when we’ve been grumbling and complaining.

I felt a sense of relief from my regret from the way I handled the difficulties we encountered in Paris as I let the goodness of that cold and creamy gelato wash over my soul. God’s Word has a similar effect on me as I find myself in transition from a difficult past to the hope of the future. There’s redemption from regret. There’s rest in the pause. And there’s refreshment for the road.

I planned the heck out of our Europe trip, and yet this gelato–this very unplanned gelato–was one of my true highlights and blessings from the trip. For it wasn’t merely the immediate gift that it was, it was the gift it was that I could take with me on the journey–throughout both Italy and my life back home.

Wherever season you may find yourself in, and whatever journey you may find yourself on, take heart, find hope, and remember: There’s gelato up ahead. 

And oh what a difference it makes.

. . .

*Matthew 7:11

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