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Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

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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Hello Wednesday. You’re already much more steady than yesterday. Thank you for that gift. Now that I have my breath back, let me explain a little of what happened.

In the midst of the highs and lows of yesterday, (1) a truck at the post office decided to try to run me over. I had to run to keep my legs. This is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping. In other news, (2) I got my first letter from a publisher seeking me out. It certainly was no offer of publication, nor is it a company I would ever choose to go with, but the offer should be the beginning of a chain reaction. And it was very thrilling and honoring to receive. (3) I’m also learning French. I’ll spend nearly ninety days studying so that I can perhaps use it for the three days I’ll be in Paris. But hey. I love language. It feeds my brain as nothing as else does. And if you’ve read Mark of Orion, you know that Evie hails from France so it could work out very well for the novelist in me too. (4) Yesterday also contained a canceled Starbucks meeting with a friend. While I was sad not to get to see her, I very much enjoyed the extra downtime. I spent a large portion of it doing research for the group meeting I had in the evening at my church, but I sneaked in a little time for McMillion and Wife–my recent Netflix kick.

Further details would just bore you, so I’ll stick with what I’ve mentioned. As for today, its full of tea and firesides and writing and strictly taking all the supplements that will make me stronger. It’s got extra rest in its margins and opportunities galore for me to catch my breath. It is a good day.

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After that hurried post of a Friday afternoon life got slower and sweeter. I returned to my roots of Maine Bible Quizzing, to be hugged to death by loving teens and smiled at until the world beamed as a happy place. My high school mentor lit up when I told her about the possible trip overseas, adding to the courage my mom and friend Amy had been instilling all day. It was Sister Kate who finally pushed my brain from ‘oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-do-this’ to ‘oh-my-goodness-I’m-going-to-Paris!’ So I spent the weekend dreaming. Dreaming of taking a train from Paris to Venice or landing in Tel Aviv instead of my original destination. Of scuba diving and visiting Jerusalem and taking a ride on a hot air balloon. Of course, the trip will probably end up a simple version of what it started out to be, but the dreaming has been fun.

Hopefully the next time I talk to Sister Julie about this trip I won’t accidentally hang up on her. Or hit the ‘Pandora’ button on my phone so that Michael Buble starts serenading me with Christmas carols. Maybe, I’ll be daring and step far outside my comfort zone and into the Middle East. Maybe, we will buy the tickets. Maybe.

See, I don’t want to look back on my life and find that I am the kind of person who said no to opportunity. I want to say yes. Even to big, scary opportunity.

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