For more than a year we have traversed Europe but this week, gazing up at a statue of Galileo Galilei outside the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, many images blazed through my mind. I saw the violet flowers that were blooming last spring near the stake where Joan of Arc was burned in Rouen, France. I could feel the early hours of the morning light in Piazza Dei Fiori in Rome where Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher, and scientist, was executed for the crime of heresy. Images of statues we have touched of Maximilian Kolbe, Lady Jane Grey, Thomas Beckett, and countless others willing to sacrifice themselves to move the masses forward, blurred my vision.
As Galileo gazed down on us, with a wisdom far beyond what a carved stone likeness should be able to portray, so many questions swirled through me. . .
- Who are the forward thinkers of our time?
- What judgments are they facing today that the judges will someday regret or recognize as their own ignorance?
- At what point do we have enough courage to silence our own fears long enough to recognize new thoughts without judging it?
- Why do we feel the need to make sense of new ideas with immediacy versus sitting with them while and see if they bloom?
- What or who is currently challenging reality as we know it?
Instead of being afraid, what if we just expand ourselves simply through the absence of judgment? No agreement, understanding, or action necessary, just a desire to grow in each moment like “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” – Galileo