You know it's been a great day when you can't remember wishing for anything, because you're enjoying everything just the way it is. Today was that day.
It started out with the Imperial War Museums. Although I was initially upset that I forgot my camera this morning, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Rather than being caught up in the scenes that would make a neat picture, I read and I learned. I learned about war, particularly about WWI and WWII. After an hour or two, I split off from the group and made my way to the Holocaust Exhibit. I have never felt such a mixture of strong emotions as I did in that museum. I felt pain, disgust, embarrassment, sorrow, gratitude, and guilt, all mixed up together. I was sick to my stomach the majority of the time, but I thought that if those poor people lived that nightmare, the least I could do was pay my respects and learn about their stories. The whole experience filled my mind with a hundred burning questions. Why was I chosen by my Father in Heaven to live now rather than seventy years ago? Why is my family intact and healthy and happy, safe from the events of something as tragic as the Holocaust? How is it that Satan can take the hearts of men so easily, and how does he get people to willingly carry out his inhuman plans? How did the worth of souls become nothing in the sight of man? I had to remind myself periodically that there is life after death--that happy endings do indeed exist. It definitely takes a great leap of faith to accept the fact that war is part of God's plan for us.
After several hours of solemn thought, I decided to wake myself up a little by going on a run. I ran around Hyde Park, enjoying watching the funny things that people do. I ran into a few rugby boys... that was fun. :) I ended up spending the majority of the afternoon at the park. I sat on a sunny hill in the grass and read Richard III. And I took a short nap. I woke up to the sight of an eighty year-old white-haired woman tanning in a string bikini next to me. Oh the things you see in London.
I've been really happy all day, and it wasn't till the evening that I realized why. Part of it was the warm weather, of course, but the other part was that I spent most of the day alone. No waiting on other people, no consolidating groups, no sacrificing what I want to do to check something off of someone else's list. I broke away from the group and spent the day alone, and I loved it. I realize that saying that makes me sound like a complete social outcast, but I'm definitely one that needs time away from everything sometimes.
Tonight the group attended War Horse. That production was incredible! The horse was a puppet, but I often forgot that the puppeteers were even on stage because the animal was so life-like. It was really draining emotionally to do the museums and a historical war show in one day, but it was really beneficial at the same time. It's been a great day, full of deep impressions and insights that likely won't be forgotten for a very long time.