As I write this post I’m on a 10 day art & faith retreat in Italy. I’m with a group of women I don’t know. Our backgrounds are varied, we are of different ages, and are from different regions of the United States. Our one common denominator was choosing to be apart of a trip where art, faith and community intersected. Two days ago our group was up early for a photography workshop in Venice, Italy. We had 2 professional photographers who divided us into smaller groups. They walked us around Venice imparting their knowledge and improving our photography techniques. During a break in our tour, one of the women shared a deeply personal story with our small group. Her raw emotion was brought to the surface after our instructor was sharing the work he was doing on a special project. I cannot go into specifics about this woman’s story, but what I can say is that his art was powerful enough to move her to a place of vulnerability. Her vulnerability was palpable and downright courageous. Even more profound was how our instructor was able to hold that sacred space for her to share her story. It never ceases to amaze me how art can open passageways for people to connect on a deeper level. Art, creativity, travel….these are all things that can take us out of our comfort zone. They can open our hearts to new experiences. They can also help us to process old wounds. They can also lead us down a path to healing. My prayer is that someone reading this post will be reminded that hope and healing can be experienced at any point in our lives. Even with a bunch of strangers half way across the world.