I board a plane from Denver, Colorado, to the Heathrow airport in London, England, and then finally on to the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France.
I used to live there, you know. Not in the airport. In Paris. Most of my life, actually…
It’s been four years since we moved, almost. This will be my first time returning, mostly due to the amount of money it requires to travel such a distance, although I’ve wanted to visit every summer since our depart.
Here it is, laid out flatly: Paris was my home. It was a concrete, physical place that symbolized home for me. When we left, I did so extremely unwillingly, and with the mindset that Paris was home and my only home, that America was fine and good and all and I liked it I guess, but I didn’t want to live there and it wasn’t and never would be home, and that I would return to Paris the minute it was possible for me to and I would stay there forever.
I only really kept true to this idea for maybe about the first year of my American life, but for at least the next year after that, I did try desperately to cling to it while it slipped through my fingers. As the years passed by with no certainty of a potential visit to see everyone I knew there, staying in touch with those who used to be the most integral people in my life became harder and harder; I confess that it is now more of a chance happening when I do connect with someone from my old life, instead of an intentional move to keep the friendships alive. In the same way that those relationships faded, so did my attachment to Paris and the lifestyle I led there; however, if, when I first started feeling this way, you had asked me about it, I would have denied it wholeheartedly. I had this notion that it was somehow my duty and a defining characteristic about me to stay “loyal” to France, to not be American in any way. It’s a kind of hipster thing, in a way, looking at it now. A hipster biased not against Americans but against becoming American, instead of biased against mainstream.
It took a while for me to embrace this new feeling that returning to Paris permanently was not necessarily what I wanted anymore, that I had become at least as content here in Colorado as I had been there. Now, I would not go so far as to equate it to the intensity of my love for the City of Light at the time; I couldn’t exactly call the Springs my home, no in the way Paris was. Rather, I would venture to say that my sense of belonging is no longer tied down to a location. Home is not a place anymore.
This is as it should be, I think; it is hard sometimes, not having a place that feels like home anymore, and I do miss it, I suppose, but my lack of home on this planet emphasizes my belonging to a different place entirely. I long for Heaven, more than anything else I love in this world.
I’m not going to discuss that much, not right now anyways; in fact that was a bit of a bunny trail, really. I reiterate: Home is not a place anymore, and I am… I never thought I would utter these words, but I am significantly less eager to go to France than I thought I would or should be…. Oh, I am very excited, yes. It’s not like I’m about to cancel the trip. I still want to go, very much so. I’ve just found that it’s costing me a lot more than I ever anticipated it to, and not in a financial sense.
You see, there are these people. Here. In America. These people who, disregarding my immediate family, are closer to my heart than anyone has ever been. I don’t think I was capable of loving friends as much as I do these few until relatively recently… my spiritual growth even in just the last year, I think, is what has enabled me to care so deeply for these friends, and it cuts me to leave them. Even though I am going to France, finally, and even though it is only for 3 weeks.
I don’t understand exactly how or why… I mean, you’ll all be here still when I come back. It’s like you have become such an integral part of my life that going through this experience of returning to France for the first time without at least one of you there by my side through it almost seems… wrong. It isn’t, I know. But by golly I wish I could stuff you all into my backpack and take you with me.
This may be cheesy, in fact it most certainly is, but you are the people whose company it fills me to be in, and I don’t think any of you realize the measure to which you’ve each impacted me. I’d like you to know that, I guess…. I’ll miss you guys while I’m gone. I didn’t think it would be this big of a deal to me that I wouldn’t get to see you all for only three weeks, but it is. It’s kind of weird, almost. YOU SHOULD FEEL SPECIAL <3
Prayers for safe travel are appreciated. I shall have some access to computers while I’m there but I’m not sure how much and whether I’ll be able to update. Regardless of whether I can blog while I’m there, I will be journaling, and I suspect most of that material will make it here when I get back if not during the trip.
I do think God has wonders planned for me for this summer. They might not be easy, but oh they are going to be SO GOOD.
Song of the post.
(May 26th, 2012)