Mystery and Macarons

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The longer I live, the less I know...
not that Paris can ever TRULY be known.

While visiting in 2012, we mostly did the
flaneur thing...strolling beautiful boulevards
without a particular destination in mind,
wide eyed and awed by the care and
creativity poured into architecture,
fashion, food, and even street protests.

It was intoxicating stuff, and I imbibed
the light and too many baguettes.
We rented an apartment near Notre Dame
to live as though we were true Parisians.

The art and cuisine filled up our fleshy senses;
yet a pervasive spiritual emptiness crept in.

Perfection lit almost every corner,
the French were mostly kind
with our endless faux pas...yet
an undeniable soul disconnect

Where does Grace hide when breathtaking beauty
reigns supremely everywhere?

We took in the Royal Opera, historical treasures,
and sculpted gardens, yet their beauty reflected
no divine light for me.

"The grace of God means something like:
Here is your life.
You might never have been, but you are, because
the party wouldn't have been the same without you.
Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don't be afraid. I am with you."

~Frederic Buechner

Reflecting on that trip now, I wonder if
there was within me an unwillingness to
become vulnerable enough to fully welcome in the light.

In a defended state, maybe I resisted allowing
my head to enter my heart while at the
impeccably executed party with the light show
which is Paris.

Maybe as I raced through it all,
I forgot to savor and slow down.

Maybe I missed Grace in Paris because
I avoided stillness and any shadow side of beauty.

Shadow side of beauty? Ha!
If only I had caught a reflection
of myself in a gilded mirror.

"Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God."
~Matthew 5:8

"Blessed are the poor in spirit."
~Matthew 5:3

What I am learning is that the Divine Presence
is always moving in the flow of pain,
in the suffering, and with the eyes of my soul,
I can glimpse it transforming into joy.

Grace somehow
holds the paradox
of joy and sorrow together...
like buttercream in the center of
a billowy two-sided Paris macaron.

Luscious Grace flavors every bite
with a gentle sweet invitation
to taste, transform,
and share.

Grace is never in short supply.
Its fragrance is everywhere
right here and right now.

Beautiful joy and terrible sorrow happen.

Grace holds them together.

Peace to you right where you are.


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