Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Paris: A Whirlwind

So, because we have to sit in our Amsterdam hotel room and wait for the cruise folks to come get our bags; and because this is the last time we have free wi-fi on the trip; I thought I'd catch you up.

Our time in Paris was not what I would have had imagined, if I had taken the time to imagine much at all. I pictured sitting in a cafe, sipping cappuccino, watching as Parisians strolled by. And walking around, seeing the Eiffel Tower, visible from every point in the entire city, standing alone and regal. And cruising the Seine as the city slowly passed my view. And a wonderful, quiet dinner in a bistro with creme brûlée for dessert, served by a snooty waiter.

What we got was a hotel on a sidewalk crowded with tourists, a sunset view of the Eiffel Tower from atop the Arc de Triomphe, at least 5 miles worth of walking to sights, a ride in a bicycle rickshaw when we just couldn't walk another step, croissants with strawberry jam (yum!), a beautiful stained-glass chapel partially obscured with construction walls (but still amazing), and the conviction that we must come back again when we have more time.

Yesterday, we took a train from Paris to Amsterdam. Today we board the cruise ship for 14 days. Happy anniversary to us!

Hopefully I'll post again before we get home. If not, I'll post then and add pictures as well.

Here we go!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

25th Anniversary Trip: 5 Days Out

Sunday, September 21

We leave in 5 days. I'm so excited! I'm also trying not to be too excited and not to imagine the trip too much, in case we can't go or have to come home early.

It's crazy. It's like I believe I can make it happen or jinx it, just in how I think. As a kid, I used to hope that Jesus wouldn't come back before I got to ... fill in the blank. It was usually something like going to Disney World the next week. I was old enough to feel guilty and to know how ridiculous that was, but I still hoped to get to Disney. Have I grown so little?

Really? Just how important is this trip in the greater scheme of things? Answer: not very.

And yet, I'm doing everything I can to make it happen. I'm giving my family all the important contact information in case they need to reach us. We bought special trip insurance in case we have to cancel or come home early. I'm making lists at work and trying to make sure no one even notices I'm gone. I'm making lists at home to take everything we might need, pay the bills, feed the birds, water the plants, and try to ensure my mother-in-law doesn't worry herself into the hospital and serious, life-threatening illness.

Is this responsible planning, or obsessive, controlling behavior? It really comes down to my heart and motives. Ugh.

And that's the rub. In this thing, it IS all about me. I know that these things don't determine whether or not we go on our trip. Pretty much all we do now is show up on time at the airport with our passports. Everything else can be finessed.

I can pray that we get to go. I can pray that none of my family or friends gets sick, has surgery, goes to prison, goes missing, or dies. I can pray that my house doesn't burn down. I can pray that ISIS doesn't suddenly attack Paris...or Smyrna.

But what matters, for the Kingdom, in the long run, is what I'm doing every day to glorify God and bring others to Him. This life is a blink of the eye compared to an eternity in the presence of Jesus. If the movie of my life is shown on Judgement day, will I be more often embarrassed or content? At this moment I think the balance is much more on the side of embarrassed. I care way too much about what other people think, my comfort, my pleasure, ease, and experience, and way too little about the eternal perspective.

Lord, I am so grateful for the blessings that make this trip possible. Please help me to see things from Your eyes. Put people in my path that need to hear about You. Give  me the eyes, ears, and heart to hear them and to respond to their needs. I really want to take this trip, but I need to want to serve You more.