"If one always expects perfection or nothing,
one will always end up with nothing."
This past week I took a vacation. Just a teeny tiny getaway for the cost of a small cup of coffee and an apple scone at Panera. My favorite table was available, the one that sits by the large window... perfect for people watching.
I pulled my "purse book"* out and began reading a very interesting chapter about Jonathan Edward's sermons on Heaven. Quiet. Bliss. Much needed. One of my Happy Places.
I picked up the cell phone and texted my daughter that I was at Panera and included this thought that popped into my mind... "Sometimes you don't need Paris". I've never been there but she has and I knew she would understand what I meant. At least I hoped she would.
Paris means magic. Paris is where one goes to delight the senses. Paris is "always a good thing". Paris means more than the destination. Paris... to my way of thinking... is bliss for one who loves coffee and good food and art and literature and chatting with someone I love at an outside cafe table. (England is still my tea time destination but that is for another day.) ;)
However, if one always longs for Paris and never looks at that which is closer for their bliss, then for many of us... joy will always be fleeting. There are those of us who have realized that Truth along life's path. For instance, Sarah Mae's latest book** is about that desire for Paris and how she came to the same conclusion, finding those desires met closer to home. It truly was a book I read "to know I am not alone".
God taught me long ago... after I stopped stomping my feet and pouting and reminding him this is NOT THE ABUNDANT LIFE and all... that one can bring a little of Paris into their days if they do an attitude check. And England. And the Swiss Alps. And Italy. And all those other places where I will never be able to travel.
I may not actually visit up close and personal a destination but through the miracle of modern day television, I can see those places. Through reading books with a country as a background, I can almost feel what it is like to be there when a skilled author describes the land and the culture and the food and the mountains or the seashore or the corner cafe.
I can take a cookbook off my shelf or borrow one from the library and follow a recipe that takes me to far away places right in my own kitchen. Add a little garam masala and I'm in India. A sprinkling of sumac in and over the hummus takes me to the Middle East. Oregano and basil reminds me of Italy and the course mustard from Aldi's brings Germany into the mixture.
I can make something rather complex by watching Julia Child or a less authentic (but just as tasty) recipe from The Little Paris Kitchen cookbook, light a candle, pour a glass of wine or sparkling grape juice (according to whom I've invited for dinner), line a wicker basket with a red gingham cloth napkin in which to place baguettes, and wallah!... Paris... at home.
For you see, one of the greatest benefits of believing this world is not all there is... knowing in my heart and soul and mind that Eternity exists... I can get by with less than perfection. The fact I won't see the longed for Swiss Alps, that desire which took root the first time I read L'Abri... that's okay. No Umbria or Tuscany in person? That's okay. No Oxford or Lake District... sigh, yes... even that is okay. No Paris cafe in person? Fine.
For I have learned to do what I can with what He has given. To say thank you and show my appreciation for an hour at Panera as much as I would say... a week in Paris. For all good gifts come from above, no matter what they are.
As I constantly remind the melancholic I live with... sometimes all you can give God back is your attitude. No Paris? Panera will do... Until that Day when all is made Perfect.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus.
*Purse Book - The book I currently keep in my purse to read while waiting so as to not go into severe book withdrawal if one is not available. Currently it is Stephen Nichols' Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edward's Vision of Living in Between.
** Longing for Paris: One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure- Right Where She Is by Sarah Mae.
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