Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lourdes: Just the Beginning.

The next couple of posts are going to be part of my Lourdes series, devoted to sharing my experiences from France. Bear with me. Hopefully I’ll have some wisdom to share.

Edith Piaf fills my ears as the flight attendant makes a quick announcement regarding our descent into Paris. My heart flutters as I think about all the things I hope to do in “La Ville-Lumière”, the city of lights.

As a little girl I used to watch Gigi, with Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, and Louis Jourdan, on repeat, in hopes that I would someday be able to switch places with Gigi. More than anything, I wanted Louis Jourdan’s character to fall in love with me, to take me to Maxim’s and to the sea. To fall so desperately in love with me that he would be willing to give up his beloved freedom as a single man simply to live a life of joy with me.

Paris means romance, means love, means…everything I’ve ever childishly daydreamed of.

But on this day, Paris is nothing more than a connecting flight.

The smell of the Charles de Gaulle Airport is something like a mixture of body odor, cologne, roses and wine. It permeates the air, and while you run to ensure you’ll make your next flight, the magic of France seems to halt time. Each scent, each image, each face are suddenly etched into your memory as if you spent an hour gazing at each. Dior, Gucci, Armani…stores that we could only find on Fifth Avenue line this Paris airport like fast-food restaurants line ours. It’s hard not to walk about, mouth agape, as you sense the culture difference, but my mind was buzzing with something outside of this obvious decadence.

If this was the secular world of France, what was the world I was about to enter going to be like?

One plane and bus ride later, I am standing in front of the Maison St. Pierre et St. Paul, an old convent converted into simple-living rooms for volunteer’s and visitor’s that don’t have enough money to stay in a hotel. I don’t have to work to keep my eyes open, as the brisk air and beautiful scenery hold my eyes captive. My body, on the other hand, thinks it’s time to sleep. The time difference weighs on me, but the clock says it’s time for lunch and with no time to spare we drop off our luggage and begin making our way across town to the cafeteria where we’ll be eating all our meals for the duration of our stay.

As we begin our first walk through the bishop’s property, I can’t help but be in awe of all that has passed in just twenty-four hours. It feels as though weeks have passed since I said farewell to my parents, and yet I have only really met my destination in this moment.

Inhaling the cool, mountain air…I smile to myself.

The adventure may have only just begun, but my heart is completely at peace.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A time for change.

Life is chaotic.

It doesn't stop or slow down when you need it to. Likewise, when you wish things would pick up, more often than not, it will stay at the pace it's going.

Essentially, life is constantly teaching us to calm down and enjoy the moment.

For the past four months, I struggled big time with just 'enjoying the moment'. I felt alone, I felt let down, I felt lost...

But here I am.

I just finished my fourth year of college. I'm about to enter my fifth year as a senior in a top Acting conservatory program. I'm exhausted. I'm confused. I'm excited.

I'm depressed. 

I'm really mostly worried about my future, and what the heck I'm doing with my life. I don't want to feel this way. I used to have daydreams and hopes and things that I was excited about...but lately they've all be replaced with questions. Where will this lead? Am I any good? Is this what God wants me to do? Am I happy? Do I like the people I'm around? Do they make me a better person? ...and all the while I'm just trying to replace those fears and questions with a sense of new born wonder.

I try to wonder what will come. Instead of freaking out, I wonder who will stick around and who will disappear. I wonder who reads this and actually thinks I'm any good at writing.

I'm leaving for Lourdes, France tomorrow to volunteer at a very important Catholic religious pilgrimage site. I'll be helping people into bathes of what is said to be healing waters. Millions of people have come, thousands have witnessed miracles and even more have left with melted hearts.

I won't lie, I've been back and forth about how I feel with being thrown abroad to serve people I don't know from a hole in the wall, who I'm sure are on a lot firmer terra than I am concerning their lives. But the door has opened and I'm choosing to run through it.

My bags are packed. My heart is open. My life is about to change for the better.

I crave peace.

Spiritual awakening, here I come.