Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Well, there it is, folks. Big Ben itself. Before checking it out, we went to the famous Westminster Abbey. I've read about it a veritable grundle of times in various pieces of literature - and it always seemed more like fiction than reality. Holy goodness, it's real. We're talking, if Barack Obama were to be buried there he'd be in the back corner behind Dickins, Darwin, Newton, Henry VIII. As we were waiting in line for their evening mass service (which was decidedly different than the Mormon method), I discovered that I was walking all over Charles Darwin's grave, like it was my J-O-B.

To think, for a moment, that I was standing on the grave of the man who I had conversations about with Norwegians for a good part of two years, was striking. I'd heard his name probably a few hundred (I'd wager a few thousand) times on my mission to Norway as people explained their 'religious' views. It was quite the experience.

It was quite the interesting historical experience, but as the clergy at the church-abbey explain, the primary purpose to its existence is worship. I found that very respectable. Sure, it's not my faith - it differs a good deal in it's views of Christ. I realized, like I have on so many other occasions, that their faith is in no way wrong - but that the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ could serve as a great way to learn more truth about God as He truly is. The music, the preaching, and the ceremonies were all interesting. Everything was very well planned and went smoothly. I did miss the application part, however. What can I do about what I'm hearing right now?, was my thought process. It was quite the experience nonetheless.

Big Ben was astounding. It stood there, keeping watch over the city (town?!). And this time, it wasn't on James Bond or Peter Pan. To be honest, before this experience in London, I hadn't quite understood what Englishmen were so proud about. After all, I do come from the land of the free and the home of the brave. I thought that everything outside of America was nice, you know, with a pitiful tone. My eyes have been opened to the fact that there truly are great places outside of the New Yorks, LAs, and Springvilles (....). Around every corner I turn, and I mean quite literally, there are historical sites dripping with memorials of people who shaped how my world is today. And I haven't even downloaded a Beatles song in my life. Figures.

To sum it up - although the United States still is the country of my choosing, liking, and I daresay loving (thanks to a touch of inspiration from Top Gun), I could definitely see myself thriving here - and not just as a tourist.

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