Well those who know me well will not be surprised that suddenly I am now remembering Paris, being stood under the Eiffel Tower, waiting and hoping and praying that my first love who had moved there with his family just months before, and who had broken up with me on the phone 48 hours previously, would now suddenly accept my invitation to turn up and sort out this huge misunderstanding.
Sometimes waiting can be so fraught. For in it stands anticipation and disappointment. Will he or won’t he? This could end up the happiest day of my life or the worst so far. A time filled with excitement and yet that sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that it just isn’t going to happen – is it?
Of all the place in the world to face such a dilemma of the heart surely this has to be the most romantic. This great city of love, with the hustle and bustle of tourism at this well known landmark; as the sun shines and the children play, with the sound of some Frenchman busking with his accordion all added to this scene full of romance, hope and expectancy.
Those days before mobile phones meant we were more disconnected from each other. I had no way to reach him, just had to hope that he was stuck on the Metro and rushing to meet me. I my mind’s eye I could see him wending his way through the network, any minute to appear and warmly embrace me like we had so many times before when we were reunited.
I hoped I looked ok. I had no pocket mirror and the trip from Manchester to Paris on the train and hovercraft had been a long one. How I prayed in those days for the Channel Tunnel to be built one day! Did I look a mess? Maybe I should have put make up on? Got changed? Was there some perfume in my bag? I think I need the loo anyway. But what if i miss him? No, its better stay here and wait. I’ll be fine; he loves me as I am. I need to just stop stressing and enjoy this moment filled with the potential of promise and new beginnings.
So how long do I wait? That’s over an hour now and still no sign of him. Maybe he had missed me? After all there are loads of people here. What if he couldn’t find me? Did he hear me that I would be under the North Pillar? Maybe I need to check the other three just in case he was waiting in the wrong place. A quick run around the four pillars of the Eiffel tower but he was nowhere to be seen. Ninty minutes now and still no sign of him. Maybe just give him another half an hour. Just in case. I stood directly under the tower now looking up at the magnificent structure, towering high above me, reaching up into the blue Parisian sky, what an amazing piece of engineering. I remember thinking when he comes we can go up to the top and feel on top of the world.
But he didn’t come. There was no warm embrace, no romantic ending, and no kiss at the top of the tower. The sun set on Paris that night and on my disappointment, and rose the next day on a whole new beginning. And where was God in all this? Well I reckon preparing me to move on, standing by me as I waited, sharing my pain and comforting me in my loss. And in it all reminding me that even in the place of endings and goodbyes, there is always a new tomorrow.
Thank You Father, that when my heart has broken, when tears flow and things don’t go the way I plan, you genuinely empathise.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again that tomorrow can be evergreen.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!