For a few years I have had recurring dreams/nightmares about trying to get to Paris and not being able to, or being in Paris and having trouble getting through to Genie (my dear friend who lives here), or being in Paris and having it be the wrong city. I have wondered what this means. I love Paris, and I love Genie. But there is obviously more. I wonder if her name is a play on “genie” or “genius,” and that dreams where I can’t “get in touch with her” are dreams about needing to be in touch with my daimon or genius. Genie’s last name is… wait for it… GODULA. So there’s an obvious pun there, too, and my unconscious mind loves to send me messages through pun-names. So I suspect that my frustration dreams of not being able to get to Paris, and the heartache I feel in those dreams, are always about feeling an aching inability to “get to” my soul and my God.

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee…”

So it seems symbolically powerful to end my sabbatical in Paris, in Genie’s home. She is a treasure of a friend and it is a glory of a city that pleases my every sensibility. I am here, I am telling myself. We are in Paris, my soul. We are in close, loving contact with Genie Godula and with genie and with God. C’est bien.
This has been a stupendous journey, this sabbatical, and I end it happy, overwhelmed with gratitude, soaked in the fascination of new experiences and memories I will savor for years, and deeply re-affirmed in my vocation.

I love that my sabbatical officially ends at Pentecost, when God worked a miracle of fire and language, of understanding and passion. On Sunday, I will attend a free organ recital at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and then, I hope, a Chopin piano recital later in the evening. I want to remember the end of this adventure as beautiful music, humankind’s response to the miracle of being alive and partaking, by constant, emphatic invitation, of the Divine Essence.

May 28, 2009, on the Rive Gauche.

7 Replies to “Paris”

  1. Dear Peebs –

    A tiny *ping* of longing, looking at you in one of my favorite cities ever. I once spent five weeks there solo – lonely, (the smooching lovers did get to me) then dizzy with all the overt male attention until it got annoying, adventurous, dancing, wandering, and drinking up beauty, beauty, beauty. I had the every-writer fantasy of going to Paris to write, and wrote… not much. But how do you hole up and write with all that Paris going on? Even for five weeks? Being there was the important part.

    When I got home, I thought of nothing more than how I was going to get back, find some way to work there, NOT as a nanny. And finally made the commitment to finding my life back home. It was part of my circuitous route to the ministry, though I’m still not sure how.

    I’m pleased for you – that your life is so rich, you can go to Paris, and look forward to the return as well.

    Happy reintegration, my dear.

  2. Hey There,
    I have so enjoyed your writing through sabbatical. I find it hopeful, that maybe I will also make it to some of the places my heart yearns to visit. I wish you blessings on your return home. May God continue to shine through you and continue to be revealed to you in new and exciting ways.

    Happy Pentecost!

  3. Oh yes, and I’m jealous too…just a little bit. The “ping” of longing: gotta love THAT turn of phrase. Enjoy Paris; savour it, relish it, delight in every momentary miracle and casual blessing. And we will live vicariously through you, redeemed from the ping after all.

  4. Thought of you this Pentecost morning as I was leading worship… especially what you wrote about ending your Sabbatical (does it really end or does it just morph?) on Pentecost. You’re liturgically woven my dear! Through and through.

    A thousand thank yous for what you’ve already shared with us while on this journey. I bet your time in the Southwest and then South/Central America feel like eons ago! Or maybe not?

    Eager to learn what “home” means to you at this point…

    And finally I have to echo what the previous posters have written about Paris. Winsome just thinkin’ about it.

    Love, love , love,

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