"Blessed in the man whose strength is in Him, whose heart is set on pilgrimage." - Psalms 84:5
In exactly one month, we will have been married three years. Judging by our first few years together, it would seem as if we are bound for pilgrimage...at least for the time being. Whether it is exploring isolated mountain ranges for a weekend, or a buzzing metropolitan city for a year or two, the way of our life reflects our belief about life on this earth...it's beautiful, but transient. Don't mind us, we're just passin' through. Yeah, we'll pitch a tent every now and then. But eventually the pillar of cloud drifts on, and so do we.
Hmm. That's funny. Doesn't seem to be moving yet.
Yes, it looks as if we will be living in the city of Paris for another year, Lord willing. My employer extended another yearly contract to me to teach. Karl will be able to follow-through with the contacts he's made in the music world here. I have the blessing of my Ph.D. committee to continue on in my pursuits abroad. We will linger awhile longer in the community of Christian believers that has been a comfort and joy. We will even be staying under the same roof, renting from our current landlords. Boy, there's a thought. Two years in one place? Well, nearly. We will be doing a bit of wandering around this summer...perhaps more of France, some Morocco and Germany, and definitely Minnesota...before we hunker down for another year of learning and living here.
"As they pass through...the rain covers it with pools." (Psalm 84:6)
Speaking of clouds, we've recently discovered that the old adage "April showers bring May flowers" cannot be applied to la belle France. Apparently, it's more like "April flowers in the sun, but May showers are not much fun". Don't get me wrong... I love thunderstorms. But we've made bikes our primary form of city transportation...yeah. Bought the bikes a month ago, when there wasn't a wisp of cirrus in sight for weeks. So, we've spent most of our time recently either drenched or drying. Haven't seen any rainbows, but the bluer skies this morning are still a good reminder that the Lord promised not to destroy the earth by water again. We were wondering there for a while.
"Even the sparrow has found a home...even Your altars, my Lord and my God." (Psalm 84:3)
Yesterday evening, we unsuccessfully dodged a downpour or two to attend a concert at the Eglise St.-Germain-des-Pres. Our plan to picnic somewhere beforehand was looking especially bleak, until we reached the entrance of the aged church. At that point, the spring torrents finally simmered down to a light drizzle and we were able to crouch on the wet stone steps like a couple of bedraggled sparrows in Goretex. It sounds unpleasant, but we were actually in high spirits as we munched on our bit of bread, meat, and cheese. A couple of bemused members of the clergy wished us "bon appetit" as they headed inside to fulfill their priestly duties for the evening.
"How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord!" (Psalm 84:1)
Once they opened the heavy, carved wooden doors, we headed in to the ancient sanctuary. Wow. This church dates back to the 6th century, when the Merovingian king Childebert decided to construct a resting place for relics. It is small (by Parisian standards), and the walls are still painted in vivid reds, greens, and blues, all of which makes the place seem quite cosy. The music was very pretty...brought to us by members of the National Opera Orchestra of Paris. They even warmed up the organ for one piece. So many glorious things.
"The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Psalm 84:11)
Yes, we are given so much good. Rain and sun, cloud and fire. Movement and stillness, silence and music. Hunger and bread, thirst and drink. These all fall from the hand of our Heavenly Father, for our enjoyment and His glory. May we delight in this more and more.
N.B. Heavens, it's been a month since I've last posted. Is it enough to say that we were banished to computer purgatory, and we're just now emerging out the other side with a brand new hard disk? Anyone who has had computer problems, read Dante, or both, will understand completely.