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Why are you waiting? Do it now!
Are you waiting for the perfect time to do something you have always wanted to do?
Do you put off your dreams and create excuses why you can’t go after what you want?
Have you gotten yourself fired up for something only to let it die because you didn’t think you could?
I have, too. I still am in some ways. Today let’s stop it. It’s time to do it now.
About a year ago something entered my heart and it spoke in a language I didn’t know, called to a piece of my soul that had been asleep and smelled faintly of French bread, lavender fields and the Seine.
I suddenly was consumed with Paris. All things French, really. I read countless books, watched movies, and even began learning the language (old dogs can learn new tricks!). I had audio lessons on CD for commutes, practiced on the DuoLingo app and have even considered buying Rosetta Stone, all while using my daughter’s high school French texts to further me along in the meantime. At 47, my brain sure isn’t absorbing it the way it did for those years of High School Spanish, but still I try, tu sais?
Plans of traveling to France for an extended length of time began to form, at least in my head. I was tired of my empty house, broken heart and bruised spirit. I wanted to renew myself somewhere that had no memories for me, but somewhere that called to me all the same. I want some time to myself. Not being a mom, a wife (or not a wife), or a hermit in a house too big for me alone. I want to just be. Be still. Be quiet. Be at peace. My life had in many ways fallen apart: I wanted to begin rebuilding it somewhere other than here.
Imagining myself staying in a tiny flat in one of the arrondissements, I would experience the neighborhood, have coffee at the cafe, ride my bike with my market fare to a picnic spot where I would work on my photography or write to my heart’s content, then take leisure strolls down cobblestone streets, basking in the beauty of art around every corner, filled with the light that is Paris. Taking care of nothing but myself and my daily needs, where life can greet me with ‘hello’ again after years of goodbye have left me numb. When the time was right, I would hop on a train and go check out another European country, once again immersing myself in just being.
Mostly, I could see myself praying, and healing, in cathedrals older than my own country. Houses of worship where thousands have come before me – to pray, to cry, to confess, to plead for mercy. I needed, still need, to pray in places like that. Where my problems are neither great nor small, but all in accordance with my life’s plan. In my heart, I feel I would find that solace in such a place and most times when I pictures this, I could see myself at Notre Dame. And I longed for it, down to the very depths of my core. But then,
I waited. I made excuses. I desired to just go, take the time I desired, but I never went. And now it is too late to fulfill my dream of praying in Notre Dame, at least in the way it was before this fire. It will take years to repair and restore, and my heart is just broken because now that part of my dream has been snuffed out.
One week before the fire, my dog died.
Now you may ask, “what in the world does that have to do with a fire in a church in Paris?” and I’ll tell you:
One of the excuses I have been making about moving on in my life has centered around the dogs, my boys, Jack and Max. Two Siberian Huskies who are both wonderful and a challenge all at the same time. I would tell myself (and others):
I can’t move because of the dogs. I can’t travel more because of the dogs. “No, I can’t meet you after work, I have to go take care of my boys.”
So now Notre Dame has burnt and my dog has died. And I read this message loud and clear.
Our excuses can only hold out for so long; and
What we seek may not always be there to be found.
So don’t wait. Do it now.
Jack was pushing 14 when he passed and while my heart is just so sad about it, there is that part of me that is reminding me that everything has a season, and our season was done and I can no longer use him as an excuse for not living my life.
A new dream
The fire was huge. It destroyed the roof. The spire fell. The cathedral was nearly gutted. But inside, the cross still gleams. When I see this picture, my heart whispers, “look beyond the edifice and behold the light within.” And that means something deeper to me even still.
I built these giant walls around me – beams, brick, mortar, and flying buttresses all of my own. I secured my heart behind impenetrable walls, not chancing anymore blows to its already fragile state. My own edifice has been damaged, at times I thought beyond repair. But deep inside, I know the light still remains. It is the light that has kept me from the darkness, it is the light that moves me forward even when I don’t want to. I am a lover of the light and it is the light I seek.
“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” – Micah 7:8
Paris is the City of Lights.
I have waited long enough to take back my own happiness. To put my own dreams and goals into motion. To take down the walls and shine. The fire that swept through Notre Dame has swept through me too and together, we will rebuild. No, it won’t be the same as before, but it could be even better, as long as we give it a chance. Are you ready? I am!
Stop the waiting. Do it now.
Until next time,