Today is our last day in Paris.
I keep thinking about the children's book "The Hello Goodbye Window", with its window at the front door of Nana's house. I love the book's message to all who read it- that it's okay to happy and sad at the same time, especially when we are saying goodbye to people and places we love.
I wish I could wrap up the beauty of the City of Lights and bring it all home with me. I'd like to bottle the spontaneous joy of finding a new museum and discovering a new view of the Seine or the Eiffel Tower. if I could, I would put the laughter of the man I love in my pocket and pull it out on the hard days of real life that await us in the coming weeks.
It's sad to leave a place like this.
But all wrapped up at home are four people who truly can't live without us any longer. My arms ache for the weight of my children's embrace. My ears keep listening for the sound of their breathing in the dark of the night. My heart keeps seeking their souls like a lighthouse seeks boats to lead to safety.
I am happy to be going home.
We have had an interesting time in France. It has been a privilege to minister to the church our dear friends planted in Marseille. It has felt heavy, and also holy, to be in Paris during the terrorist attack this week. And to share so many amazing moments with my very best, most fantastic friend has been a blessing.
There is a fullness to life that strikes me with awe and wonder.
At the end of everything, albeit buried beneath the ache of goodbye, the truest thing we can know is love.
Wrapped up in that love is everything good and powerful: grace, forgiveness, mercy, strength, and obedience.
Grace is the kindness of God's love made manifest.
Forgiveness is the generosity of God's love towards us.
Mercy is the greatness of God's love on the earth.
Strength is the joy of God's love in all creation.
Obedience is possible by the faithfulness of God's sustaining love.
Always, always, it is His love that births and heals and fills our lives with His presence and person. It is God's love that makes the sadness of leaving bearable.
Goodbye, Paris. I am so very happy and sad to have to leave. I leave you with with a promise to pray for the love of the One True God to fill your beautiful buildings and to protect your precious people.
It's time to go home now.