Tonight is my last night in Illinois for a few months. It has been a wonderful time. I only wish that my family could have been here to experience it with me. I have been promising detailed descriptions to help fill in some of my "broad strokes" but I guess I can't promise that tonight. Here is what I can promise. When I get home I will post all of the pictures that I took. Then you ask me for details and I promise to give them--ok?
A few moments stick out--but one overarching theme. It can be summed up by the first moment. The Art Institute of Chicago was one of the single most amazing two hours of the trip. Of the literally hundreds (maybe thousands!) of pieces I saw, I couldn't believe the difference of looking at masterpieces in person rather than in a book. This Renoir painting, for example:
I have seen it over and over again in books and on the cover of Impressionism books. Not until you see it in person can you know what it is really like and feel the power of the blue in those flowers and in the smaller girls eyes. It is incredible.
This has been the case over and over again on this visit. Sure, I saw a picture of campus on the website, I looked at the map of the towns online--but it wasn't until I was here and could experience the details of the place did those broad strokes (thanks for that term Dad! it is coming in handy!) and impressions begin to form images that were more literal in my mind. I had another moment inside the English building where I will be spending so much time over the next years. I think when wonderful people inhibit beautiful spaces, those spaces become that much more beautiful. That is how I felt about my visit to the campus. Aesthetically, it is gorgeous...but it was the people that really made it glow for me.
Finally, I would be remiss not to comment on the closing song tonight in the priesthood session. Since I was hard charging around looking for a place to live, I wasn't able to see any of the other sessions today, so I was lapping up the spirit in tonight's meeting. The "new" Be Still My Soul tonight was one of the most beautiful pieces/arrangements that I can remember EVER being sung in a priesthood meeting. I was touched.
I can't wait to return to this town. I wish that we could move out tomorrow. It makes me excited that I get to raise my kids in such a neat town. I think it is going to be wonderful for them.