|The San Diego Wendlers on the Metro|
After a Metro ride to the Place d'Italie, we realized that the office that had our car was actually in Montparnasse. It was another simple Metro ride to Montparnasse, a few conversations with folks in the station regarding where to find the car rental office and a ten minute walk there. After waiting in line, translating order details, and selecting the appropriate car seat based on kilograms, we had another ten minute walk and a few conversations with folks as to where the "parking" office of this particular car rental agency was.
|Mona Lisa smiles...or not|
"You go through the bar, down the elevators to Level -3. Then find the stairwell and walk up to Level -2. Across the parking from the stairwell you should see a sign for a different car rental agency. Your company uses that same office and staff."
Wow! Things in France are different!
The French have this whole notion that geography dictates personality (e.g., people from the Savoie region where the language school is located are broadly caricatured as aloof, private, slow to warm up to new people but fiercely loyal, intensely compassionate to their friends, and extremely hardy). I don't know that I'm clever enough to make judgments on people's personalities based on knowing their whereabouts growing up, but I can see how geography has dictated the ways car rental companies solve their business problems. Paris is dense, old, and labyrinthine. If you rent out cars, you find a hotel or mall with a big parking lot and use some of their space. If there are other companies doing the same thing, you band together to economize on overhead.
Two hours into a process that I thought might take one those were not the thoughts going through my head. I was rather worried about the women and children and trying to keep ahead of the communications so that they would know what to expect. And in that distraction, I left my backpack containing the keys to the car we had driven from Albertville to Paris and my wife's and my passports.
This I did not realize until we had reconvened at our rented apartment and started supper.
"Michelle, where did you put my backpack? I'd like to take some Tylenol [also in the bag]."
"You took it with you when you left the Louvre."
"Are you being funny, because this headache is not funny."
"No. Remember, you had to come back and give me my water out of the backpack before you left."
"... [frowny face]..."
|Through the glass storefront...right where I left it|
Nothing more to do that night but pray.
|The Good Lord provides the next day|
My good Father, God, has a plan for my life, prepared day-by-day and hour-by-hour. Riding the Metro around Paris with John Mark while the women and children languish in a less frequented hall in the world's largest art museum was within His will for that day. Misplacing the backpack and working through all the efforts to recover it and stick to the itinerary we had established in advance was in God's plan for us. Cramming all of my visiting family + Michelle into one car while I drove by myself to try to catch up was also the path He had laid out for the day.
The frailty of my faith in my Father might look different than the feebleness of my nieces' and nephew's confidence in their parents' plan, but I have a feeling that if I were to slow down and try to observe the place God had brought me to in each moment, I would observe things more remarkable than even the Winged Victory of Samothrace.