April 15 was a day of joy in our house: a 40th birthday. It was a day of sorrow beyond our walls, as the rest of the world watched Notre Dame burn. I found out about it on social media, and could hardly bear to look at the news. I love Paris - it’s been many years now since my last visit, but my memory is that it is a joy just to be there. I’ve been waiting for the day I could take my daughter to see the city. . . . waiting for her to be older, waiting until I had plenty of money saved up. I am done with waiting.
We started talking about it a few years ago. Soon, we will go to Paris. Two summers ago, we didn’t really travel at all; I can’t recall the reason for this but it must have seemed like a valid one at the time. I promised my daughter that we would go on a Big Trip, something amazing, the following year.
We didn’t. In the months between, everything changed for us, so when that promised season rolled around all we had was a week or two here and there, with most of that being spent preparing for the next school year. A trip of any significance would have eaten up whatever precious days she had to spend with friends, something I didn’t want to take away since I know how much it means to her, even if it would have been for a fun reason.
I am not one to harbor regrets, but I feel it keenly now: I wish we hadn’t waited. I wish I had thrown responsibility and whatever excuses out the window, expedited passports, booked tickets, seized the day when we had the chance and the luxury of copious time. That time is gone now. Maybe I can still take her to Paris, maybe she can still see Our Lady’s gorgeous facade, maybe she will be old enough to remember it when she is grown. Maybe from here on out I will make the choice not to wait.
This takes me to something I just recently came upon, from a college friend who is a Yoga teacher, therapist, and mentor. Thanks again to social media (have I ever mentioned that I love Instagram?), I get to see her posts that include daily thoughts, inspiration, etc. In the one on April 17, she brought up the notion of “get(ting) to yes,” which refers to a practice advocated by Richard Rohr. It hit me that this is what I have been rolling around in my head while I’ve been thinking of the idea “don’t wait.” During my daily run, as I made decisions to not put off travel plans any longer, I thought about the word Yes, that Yes was what I was after, more Yes, less Maybe, and far less No. Obviously not everything should be an impulsive SURE WHY NOT! (eating candy at 11pm, for example, or eating fried food for the 2nd time in a week), but when it seems like a good idea, then yes, why not? I do believe in the goodness of timing in life - everything has a season, everything happens at the right time - but I have an active part to play in that as well. Often a road can go either way, depending on my choices.
So my heart tells me: less waiting. More yes. Let’s go to Paris.
All photographs included here are from the last time I was there, in 2004. All made with film in a Canon Rebel. Most I have not shared before.