24 November 2010

Where's the Wonder

Over the weekend my fellow RA friend, KEG-hoe, from my Cedarville days came with her new husband to visit me.  We went up to the Sacre Coeur on Friday night, and spent Saturday taking a whirlwind tour of the Parisian highlights.  Our wanders ended at the Eiffel Tower.  K & M went up to the top and I searched out someplace warm to sit and read. 

I thought about coming back the way we came, but I had been there . . . and there were no cafés in the other 3 directions.  And since it was a cold November night the crowds at the Tower were thin, I grabbed a cheap-o cappuchino from the offical Tower vendeur and sat down to people watch.

For those of you who have never had the occasion to come to Paris, let me paint a picture.  There are a lot of immigrants sans papiers who sell souvenirs on the side of the touristpacked sidewalks.  But right underneath the tower, the guys wander around offering their mini-Eiffels for a euro a pop.  That is, until the police or gendarmes come walking through . . . and before you know it there's a swarm of visaless-commotion, a symphonie of jingling tiny towers, and in a blink the guys are gone.

I've spent many hours sitting and reading or people watching as I wait for friends under the Eiffel Tower, and I've been offered nearly three hundred multicolored dust collectors.  And I'll admit, after saying 'Non, merci' 48 times to the same guy, it gets annoying.  So, this time, when the third one approached me and wouldn't take no for an answer (when I told him that I wasn't interested in a little tiny one when I was sitting there looking at the real thing, he said 'but you can't take that one home with you!'), I changed the subject.  This resulted in an eventual marriage proposal.  But just like when selling his souvenirs, he didn't take a simple 'no.' I had to be more creative.  Eventually when his buddy realized there would be no exchanging of euros, cheap junk, or vows they moved on to more promising customers. 

Since I no longer had anyone with whom to practice my French, I turned on my iPod, went back to sipping coffee and watched the passersby.

Being distracted by the cold, I took no note of the time.  Without realizing where the time had gone, it was the top of the hour, and the twinkling lights began.

This is one of my favorite things to show friends who come to visit.  The Eiffel Tower is a pretty amazing sight to begin with, but at night, when it's dark out and the Tower is lit, it's stunning.  And just when you can't imagine it to be any more spectacular, the fairy lights twinkle making it something out of a dream.

As I sat there thinking over my music, I said to myself 'WOW!  I just never grow tired of this! . . . .' In my pause I subconsciously heard the lyrics playing in my ears: Though my eyes linger on this scene, May passing time and years not steal . . . 'WOW!  This just never gets old!' The power with which it impacts me, The freshness of it's mystery . . . 'Yeah, freshness, it's as if each time I see this it's for the first time.  It's SPECTACULAR!  It's . . .' May I never lose the wonder  'YEAH!  That's it!  WONDER!  Like a how a child sees the world!' The wonder of the cross . . . 'Wait, what??'  May I see it like the first time, Standing as a sinner lost.  'YEAH!! Just like that!  Wait, the cross??'  Undone by mercy and left speechless, Watching wide eyed at the cost, May I never lose the wonder, The wonder of the cross

I sat there staring at nothing completely convicted by my response to some fancy blinking lights used to wow tourists . . . and yet somewhere along the way, I have lost that gorgeous childlike wonder when I think about the cross of Jesus.  I have 'taken up my nets and followed Him' but somewhere in the process His gifts of grace and mercy became common, and it now takes more than a few flashing bulbs to leave me wide eyed let alone speechless.  Grace is not cheap . . . and the incomprehensible act on the cross leaves a twinkling Eiffel Tower as chincy as the plastic ones they sell on the sidewalk.


Bethany said...

you're great... can't wait to see you again. e-mail coming TODAY. happy Thanksgiving to you!!

Bethany said...

my facebook won't work today for some reason... but i just wanted to tell you that i'm thinking of you today lots and praying for you too. see you soon.

Bethany said...

my facebook won't work today for some reason... but i just wanted to tell you that i'm thinking of you today lots and praying for you too. see you soon.