We arrived in Paris Tuesday evening. Our hotel was two blocks from the Eiffel Tower, so that night we ventured out into the cold and wind to see this magnificent structure in all its nightly beauty. Standing in line to make our way to the top where all of Paris could be seen brought back the memory of my first trip to this beautiful place. The view from the top of the tower was amazing. The pictures on postcards of this giant steel structure do not compare to seeing it lit up at night in person.
Paris did not disappoint! It was all I remembered and all I hoped it would be. This time I was older and could appreciate the history and the beauty this city holds.
The buildings had a majestic stance, displaying the old worn bricks, yet clothed with a dignified beauty that my mind sees when I think of a European city. The streets were paved with cobblestones and lined with naked trees from the winter’s cold. The structures that surrounded me held more history than my youthful country’s existence.
The palaces were grand and incomprehensible to my mind. They were more of a fantasy than reality. I was there and could see the vastness of these grand palaces, yet my mind grasped to understand the enormity of this home for royalty.
The history of Notre Dame Cathedral was mind boggling. Realizing its construction began over 600 years before our country was founded changed my narrow perspective of history. The grand construction of this place of worship was awe inspiring.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. I will cherish the beautiful sites we toured and the memories made with my husband.
Though the palaces, museums, sites, and atmosphere were amazing the most extraordinary experience came on the most ordinary day.
Wednesday morning I walked to the local Laundromat (a woman's work is never done, even while on vacation). There was a young lady there and a little boy with his father. Obvious to these locals, I was not a native. This young lady, in her best broken English, explained how the machines worked. I was ready to accomplish my “ordinary” task. The paper bill I held in my hand was the local currency, but the machine spit it out as though it were foreign food. The little boy could see my frustration and motioned for me to hand him the bill. I did as he requested. He crumbled the bill like it was trash. The young lady looked concerned which concerned me. The little boy put the bill back in the slot and wouldn’t you know it; it worked! He looked up at me, grinned and stoically strolled back to his father like a knight who just saved the damsel in distress.
Nestling into the hard plastic chair to read the book I had been deeply indulged in just hours before, I found myself instead staring out the window at the buildings that surrounded this little Laundromat. The sunshine illuminated the historical beauty of this city. My mind began playing the stories these buildings could tell. I watched this young lady scan her highlighted book and the little boy fold clothes next to his father. I recognized how mindless I can be of all that surrounds me. Thinking that my country, my state, my city, my home, my life is all there is. In that moment I was aware of the life that takes place outside of my little world. While I am going about my everyday life, so is everyone else.
People walked past the laundromat oblivious of this stranger watching them. What is their story? Is this young lady a student? Is that why her book was covered in pink, yellow and green highlights? What about this little boy and his father? Is this his Daddy’s day off? Is there a mother, or is it just the two of them?
Everyday people doing everyday things. It was a day for me to bask in the "ordinary". I love when God allows me to see something beyond myself. Sometimes it's the ordinary things in life that make the most impact on us-if we are willing to pay attention.
Allow yourself to pay attention to all that God has for you today. Make time to take in the ordinary and see the extraordinary in it.