View down Rue Mouffetard, our own personal downtown.
Following God's lead across countries and across the street
30 Mar 2011 5 Comments
30 Mar 2011 4 Comments
My mother has a thing for open-air markets. When I was a tiny child and could still fit easily into our family’s RadioFlyer wagon, she would haul my brother and I to the Farmer’s Market down the street on sunny Saturday mornings.
When we lived in Mexico last year, she discovered a fruit market up the street from our house and every Friday she would pick me up from the Christian school and drive up the hill to the market. My sisters would wait in the shade and eat the fresh fruit the Market People offered us while I helped my mother pickout pineapples, oranges, mangoes, squash, cauliflower, and whatever other produce she needed.
While we were in Paris in the fall of 2000, my mother developed a rather strong friendship with a certain set of Market People. I suppose it all started because their produce was better, and then the friendship grew as she carted me and Stevy, then 5 and 8, to the market various times throughout the week to buy fresh produce and cultivate friendships. Towards the end of our 2000 trip, she took a picture of Stevy and I with the Market People; the two of us had climbed under the metal frame of their stand, and were standing on upside-down crates, surrounded by the four or five men and women who worked the stand. We are all grinning, and if I remember correctly, Stevy and I are holding up bunches of carrots.
As she normally does on Wednesday and Friday mornings, Mom went to the market this morning. I accompanied her and we set off down Rue Mouffetard, pulling our little cart behind us. I had the all-important List in my pocket, and we wandered up and down the market aisles, picking up some cashews here, a couple parsnips there.
We passed one produce stand and continued around the corner, but something about the men at the first stand seemed vaguely familiar. As we stood in line to buy carrots and lettuce at the second stand, one of the men poked his head around the corner, glancing quizzically at Mom and I. But they can’t be our Market People, can they?
“They might actually be our Market People,” I conceded as Mom paid for the lettuce at the second stand. Still lacking some fruit, we rounded the corner once again and stopped in front of the first stand, me becoming more convinved every minute that these two men were some of our original Market People.
We bought some strawberries, a couple oranges, sampled a couple tomatoes, then Mom spoke up; “How long have you been here?” She asked. They didn’t quite understand the question. “It’s okay, it’s okay.” Mom assured them, shrugging off the language barrier and turning to inspect the red potatoes. I stood by, list in one hand, cart in other.
A middle-aged woman approached the stand and the Market Men wasted no time in asked her if she spoke English. “Non…” Minutes passed and Mom continued to shop and chat, both of us accepting the free samples we were offered. Then an elderly man approached the stand, grey beret on his head and spectacles balanced on his nose.
“Do you speak English?” the Market Men asked him eagerly, still dedicated to finding a translator. The man nodded emphatically and turned to Mom. After a moment or two of explanation and misunderstanding, the man turned to the Market Men and explained to them that we live in Chicago, but have visited Paris before, and were they by any chance here eleven years ago?
“We have been here 20 years!” The older Market Man exclaimed, before thanking the man heartily for his assistance. Then he turned back to Mom and I, “I recognize you from last time!” he grinned, before handing us some grapes to sample.
So we found our Market People.
29 Mar 2011 Leave a Comment
Metro stop outside the Eiffel Tower.
29 Mar 2011 2 Comments
I’ve been feeling some pressure related to this blog recently. In the months that I have written here, and especially while in Mexico, I developed a sort of rhythm of posts; a light-hearted post or two, followed by a more “deep thinking” post, and then another light-hearted post to even things out. If I didn’t feel “light-hearted”, then I didn’t write a post full of exclamations and smile faces, but for the most part, my writing moods and inspiration fit pretty well into my little “schedule”.
But then I came to France. I started the Paris Daily posts, and as I posted my brother’s brilliant images every day, I began to feel as if the focus of my blog was changing; slipping away from the fun-yet-thought-provoking blog that I aim for, and becoming a photo-and-memory blog. And even thought there is nothing wrong with having a photo-and-memory blog, I instantly become concerned that my readers would not like it anymore, because of the (slight) change in content.
My worry and desire to please my readers began a cycle wherein I tried to think of something “deep” to write about, realized that it is hard to be “deep” on command, put off writing for a bit, became worried that my readers wouldn’t be happy, and began the cycle all over again.
So I had a little discussion with God last night regarding the blog, and during our conversation, two things became apparent to me. The first of which being that the point of my blog is not to make my readers happy. Sorry, everyone. I do sincerely hope you are happy; I love writing and I would love for my readers to love what I write, but that is not my end goal. No, my goal, my purpose in writing here is to glorify God. Remember?
Secondly, as I was commenting to the Lord that I felt obligated to write “good posts”, He asked, “What happened to ‘leadmewhere’?”.
Oooh, you’re right, God.
The idea of Leadmewhere, of being totally open to wherever God wants to me to be, and whatever He wants me to be doing includes what I write about on this very blog. Just as my faith that He wants me to go to Moody allows me to simply follow His lead and trust that He will bring me there, if I have faith that He wants me to be writing this blog, then I should be able to trust Him with what I write and know that He will use it.
I don’t know who reads my blog, what they believe, or why they read what I write. But God knows. And right now, I chose to trust Him to show me what to write- be it a funny post, a short post, a long post, a deep post, a post with pictures- I trust Him to show me what to write, and I trust Him to use it for His glory.
28 Mar 2011 1 Comment
27 Mar 2011 2 Comments
Hillsong Paris church service this morning.
Paris Opera building, near the pizzeria/café where we ate lunch.
26 Mar 2011 5 Comments
Sharing an icecream with Larissa on Rue Mouffetard.
26 Mar 2011 6 Comments
Jo once observed that friendships don’t stay static; they change with time. They ebb and flow, they drift apart, and they come together again as the two people experience life.
She said this a while ago, but I thought about her words again today. I was thinking this afternoon about friendships in my life that have done just that; they have ebbed, they have flowed, they have changed. Sometimes this changing looks very much like the end of the friendship; since I don’t have God’s wisdom, nor His sovereignty, it is sometimes hard for me to imagine how things could change for the better; how we could ever be close again. And that thought saddens me, fills me with bittersweet memories, and sometimes regret.
But today as I thought about those friendships; looked at a couple of pictures, read a couple old emails, I was not sad. I was thankful. Thankful that I had those times, those moments with those friends. I did not feel regret for not doing what I should have, nor for doing what I should not have. I just felt thankful.
And hopeful, too.
25 Mar 2011 1 Comment