Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage...
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
So Tuesday I had lunch at the kims in Auch and then immediately boarded a train to head to Paris for a day and a half. I had been unable to re-connect with several friends in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence down south and had not yet re-connected with those in Paris.
I found myself quoting this passage from Psalme 84 but in a mopey way. I felt lonely and I had all the weight of processing the opportunity with Team Auch which seemed to end with an open invitation to return. I was also a little anxious about a day of free time when I had planned to spend it with friends. I have some favorite spots but I'm no true tourist because I hate artificial forced fun...museums..guided tours..lines of tourists and cameras. Ugggh. And the weather had gone from pretty cold down south to cold, gray and snowy as I moved north-just like my mood.
Despite all those things, as I journaled on the train and listened to this passage again I was impacted by the phrase "they go from strength to strength." The passage even opens with blessed are those whose strength is in the Lord...AND whose heart is set on pilgrimage. I was rebuked and encouraged all at once. Not only does God have a plan..He knew I needed to be alone to process. And He didn't want me to miss what was coming next!
I laughed and my mood improved immediately when I got to the street, Rue Garibaldi, where I had scoped out several inexpensive hotels online. I ended up getting a discount of 30 euros at one because of the front desk clerk's generosity and kindness! The name of the Hotel was... Hotel Baldi! I laughed so hard and am still laughing at God's humor!
That night I visited the Eiffel Tower because she was looming over me to greet me as I headed to the Hotel.
The rest of the afternoon I spent touring and walking randomly but really just headed towards me favorite spot...The Eglise St. Gervais. A cathedral where I re-dedicated my life right before i returned to the US and joined Christ UMC. I spent Lent that Spring of 1998 and Easter in this beautiful haze; I came to hear the beautiful music and to pray with the congregation of monks and nuns that make up the Fraternite de Jerusalem. Everything was introspective and meditative in a minor key until Easter. The voices raised were pure as I wanted my heart to be. And God drew me back to Himself. I found peace I had been missing for a few prodigal years and returned home a changed man with the soil of my heart ready to be planted by the many seeds of discipleship with the college crew at CUMC.
I left refreshed and made this video that I hope makes your heart smile the way He made mine smile...