I don't produce art, but I can appreciate it. Lauren's month in Italy sounds like a lovely dream to me--nearly every day is filled with touring, viewing gorgeous churches and other artworks, learning their background from someone knowledgeable and entertaining, and eating fabulous fresh food. Sign me up!
In a way, wishing I were there reminds me of longing for heaven. It's not a perfect analogy, but consider . . .
I don't know exactly what she's experiencing, but I know she's fabulously happy (she can't wait to go back, even though she hasn't left yet). We've been told that the saints in heaven are blissfully happy, even though we don't know exactly what it's like there.
I've seen great art and eaten delicious food, so I at least have an idea of what Lauren's trip is like. Sometimes here on earth we catch glimpses of peace or beauty or joy that would be great to experience forever.
Heaven can sound boring (Hang around singing and praising for eternity? Yawn!), but when I found myself yearning to spend day after day contemplating beauty (in Italy) in the company of friends, it "clicked" that this is a bit like Heaven--soaking up God's beauty in the fellowship of beloved souls.
And while touring art venues is not everyone's idea of a great time (just ask my husband!), there are innumerable other glorious moments (riding a perfect wave, holding your new baby) when we glimpse the divine and can imagine eternity. That longing (for Forever, for Beauty, for Love) is what I understand differently now.
Sorry I can't express myself better. I was trying to share that "Aha!" spark, (You're probably thinking, "Duh . . ."), but this reads as inarticulate to me now.