A stopover in Paris on our way to South Africa had the feeling of magic. It turned out to be a test which I failed and a lesson combined with beauty and some unexpected joys.
It was raining and cold when we stepped out of the train that took us to Notre Dam. The plan was to walk mostly, and we had a detailed route planned. See, it is expensive in Paris since a Euro is 82 rupees. My eight-year-old son got hungry, so we got some crêpes and coffee. We bought umbrellas and started walking. My wife entered an art supply shop, and my son wanted to quit. We came to the Musee d’Orsay and our skip-the-line tickets landed us at the back of a long line that moved slowly.
The art was fantastic,
But we got out of there much later than expected and my son had had enough. My stress started showing itself. Thankfully the rain stopped. We had plans for great dining, but could not find the type of place my wife had in mind. We settled for what we could get and had an excellent meal that lifted our spirits some, but I paid the most I’ve paid for any meal in my life thus far.
Instead of trying to complete our planned route I settled on just walking to the Eiffel Tower and skip all the lovely gardens which I so looked forward to.
The Eiffel is awesome.
But my state of mind was such that I could not enjoy it fully. I was impatient and the stress was starting to get the better of me. Maybe it was lack of sleep, plans gone wrong or the amount of money that I spent. Whatever it was, it was ugly.
Now, the new plan was to get some trains and metros to take us to the hotel which we had to book to get the visa, have some sleep and then go back to the airport. We walked a long way to the station,
but there was only an automated ticket machine. After struggling for some time and building up more steam, I requested help. A friendly attendant helped, but when it came to the payment, it did not accept my card and I thought that my bank in India must have noticed the transactions in A foreign place and stopped my card (as happened once already). That’s where I totally lost it. It was a lost cause. We would miss our flight and not be able to buy anything to eat. My phone battery was also running dangerously low.
My wife started ordering me around. I ran to the nearest atm. It was broken. I went to the next one and was able to withdraw money for the inevitable taxi we would have to get.
Since we did not have data and free wifi was to be found only in a restaurant or café if you buy something, we got another cup of coffee, wifi, and an Uber. My phone died.
I finally remembered my Friend and asked for some help.
The cab took an hour to reach the hotel. I realized that taking another taxi to the airport will not get us there fast enough. I dropped my family and ran to the nearest metro station. There was a ticket office and a friendly person helped me to buy the right tickets and explained to me which changes I had to make.
This little run to and from the station was for me the best thing of the day.
I finally relaxed while trusting Him to care for us as He desires to do. I think we need to keep the perspective that God has plans that may not be the same as ours. But He has the big picture. He knows better!
I just wish I have given our plans into His hands earlier.
Tomorrow is Comrades and I have a plan, but Lord, your will be done.
P.S. This is in no way a complete account of our time in Paris. All in all, it is an experience I can recommend. It is one of those days that will remain a vivid memory for me.