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Posts Tagged ‘nephews’

Sometimes, you just need a change of perspective…

The Eiffel Tower has long been known as grand and romantic, a symbol of France. Back in college, I was astounded to learn that, having been commissioned for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower had never been intended to remain. As seeing this legendary icon had become the top of my bucket list, I feared it could only disappoint. And then there it was. Big and majestic and beautiful and certainly no more than a twenty-minute walk from our current location. Little did we realize just how big the tower truly was. What looked so close was actually a good hour’s walk away.

By the time we reached it, my feet were literally bleeding. One popped blister, two average-joe blisters, and one blood blister completely obliterated my ability to stand up long enough to take the iconic, long-distance photo of my dearly sought-after tower. So instead, as we half-teetered in line for the elevator, I snapped a photo upwards–catching the iron latticework in all of its true glory. And I realized that this was the photo I wanted. Not the photo the rest of the world would care about, perhaps, but the photo that would remind me of the hard, detailed, inspired work and the massive scale of my beloved tower. Then, together with my sister, I piled into two over-crowded elevators to get to the top of one of the world’s greatest structures. The view was breathtaking–whatever the guidebooks say.

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Before leaving for France people said all kinds of things. That the locals were rude, the sights overcrowded, the streets dirty, and the gelato good. I could have expected that France. Instead, I found my own France. Sidewalks with street-musicians. A collection of food trucks where we were the only foreigners. Locals down by the water playing hopscotch and strumming guitars. Streets far cleaner than New York City. Gorgeous architecture. Friendly people. A collection of shops and Starbucks and affordable eateries in my favorite neighborhood. And, yes, the gelato was good, but it was nothing compared to the fresh strawberries we bought on the Rue Cler. Paris became my own.

I could have felt disappointment in missing my long-distance shot of Gustave Eiffel’s greatest feat. I could have felt disappointment in getting only one scoop of gelato. I could have fought for the Paris I had heard about. Instead, I found the Paris that mattered to me.

The understandable tendency, when we miss out, is to feel disappointment, but the last few weeks have given me a different perspective. Of course, there is the part of me that wants to fight for the me that could have been without Lyme’s Disease: a fiddler, a missionary, a gymnast, a businesswoman… Instead, I have decided to revel in the me that is. Just as I chose to celebrate the close-up shot of the Eiffel Tower, I choose to celebrate the path I walk. It may not be the iconic life of our favorite characters on television, but it’s mine and it’s profoundly beautiful. Now, having set aside any kind of modern standard, I am thankful for the strange, yet powerful role I play in this world. As I continue to learn about myself, I have a new appreciation for the way God directed me. The passion developing for writing students, the creativity seeping out in play-dates with my nephews and in my novels, the true friendships now returning from across the globe… It’s all because my life didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Praise God for that.

Sometimes you just need a change of perspective.

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I’d like to tell you that I spent my evening doing something a little more edifying than playing Windup Knight on my cell phone, but, alas, I cannot lie. I really did pass several hours multitasking with the television on and the fingers tapping away trying to beat level after level of the addicting game. It’s not my fault, really. I blame Younger Nephew, who talks about the game so incessantly that I just had to try it. Yes, it feels much better to blame the four-year-old.

Speaking of the nephews, they came over today by special invite from my dad to watch Frozen. And as we finished our movie what did we see out the window this fine spring day? Snow, of course. Because this is the winter that never, ever ends.

As my mom and I logged mile after mile on our way to and from New York for what will go down as a truly frustrating doctor’s appointment, I watched the roads transition from snowy to bland nothingness. No color; no vibrancy; no sparkling snow; no green; no leaves; nothing. I was lamenting the lack of nature’s charm when my mother reminded me that this nothingness is needed for snow to pass and color to rise once more. The land must be barren for a little while. It has to pass through an awkward, ugly-duckling season for summer to finally arrive.

And liking metaphors as I do, maybe I’m going through my own barren season. A season that feels like nothingness. A season all about thawing. A season that is not so beautiful, but leads to beauty.

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1528476_10202258398838086_581389364_nSpending Christmas Eve Eve with my nephews was thoroughly worth the cold they could not help but share. That said, it made for a strange Christmas. A holiday of slowness. Of television marathons with a grand total of hours that would have been simply shameful under other circumstances. Of sharing tissue boxes and drinking tea and resting in piles on the couch. And then… Christmas was over.

Church came around and post-chaos/sickness cleaning began. We continued to find time to rest on the couch, but soon we did so alone–without my New York Sister or Sister Kate or her husband. There was still fun to be had. In cleaning out closets, we could not help but try on old ball gowns, reliving memories of each occasion. We snatched moments alone to dream and reset. We even eked enough life from ourselves to drag ourselves to the movie theater, catching the Walter Mitty remake. And now as the real world officially begins again, I am grateful for a little more oxygen in my lungs, for good, good memories, and for the new church family that has made me feel so at home.

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