Day #24: July 22, 2009
After a rather frustrating first introduction to Paris yesterday, Amy and I were both intentional to start the day fresh. We both agree that each day should be rid of all attitudes, frustrations, and annoyances from the previous day and give it a fair chance. Daniel L. Reardon says it best: “In the long run, the pessimist may be proved to be right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip.” Sure, Amy and I could have headed into Paris with cynical approach, but we couldn’t let one bad experience ruin our trip. So we started today fresh, and a little wiser and more aware.
Our first stop in Paris was to the Museum D’Orsay. It was pretty impressive, especially seeing original Monet paintings. I can’t help but be in awe of something original that is so well known. When I went to the Van Gogh Museum, I was in such admiration by the fact that I was seeing the original paintings of Van Gogh! When I went to the house of Anne Frank, they had her original diary. This diary has been duplicated and translated into numerous languages, and here I was, looking at her very own, original diary. Going to the Museum D’Orsay infused the same amazement by seeing Monet’s hand-brushed artwork. I can’t help but think of Christ. If we are honest, we all have this idea of what He looks like; an incredible tan, long semi-wavy brown hair (combed neatly, of course), and maybe even a goatee. Despite physical characteristics, we all have presuppositions and certain beliefs to who we think Christ really is. I want the original.
I didn’t think I would get so captivated and awestruck when I saw Van Gogh’s work, Anne’s diary, and Monet’s paintings, but I think it was more of a craving for more original…for more real…which brings me back to Christ. I want the real Christ; not the one I’ve been taught to believe under human idealistic assumptions, or even the one I’ve created in my finite mind; I want the real, true, unadulterated Christ. From my desire of an authentic Christ, I too want to be real. When people think of me, or are around me, I am want them to have the earnest feeling that I am not trying to be anyone but me. Joseph Campbell once said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” If we are made in the image of God, the one, true, original God…and what we desire is to be genuine people, unattached from false pretenses and charms, then yes Campbell! What a privilege, what an honor it is to be who we are.
My favorite painting from the Museum D’Orsay is called, “Les disciples Pierre et Jean courant au sepulcre le matin de la Resurrection” by Eugene Burnand. Oh how I love their facial expressions; one out of hope, and the other out of expectation. I identify with these two. They were just told that Christ has risen. Now they are off to look to see if it’s true, to find the original.
After an enjoyable tour of the Orsay, Amy and I plopped ourselves on a one-hour boat excursion on the Seine River. We enjoyed seeing old bridges, new government buildings, and sights of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Once our boat tour concluded, we went to the Arc de Triomphe to see it in the day light, went to eat some dinner, and then back to see the Arc at night. It was raining at this point, but the weather couldn’t dampen our fun!
We finished our great day in Paris by going to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle on the hour. What a sight to see! The anticipation of the Eiffel’s hourly light-up had me questioning if it would be as great as people have said. And the moment it struck 11:00pm, bursts of dancing lights sparkled up and down the Eiffel Tower for a solid five minutes! I ate my chocolate & strawberry crepe mesmerized by its magic.
What a wonderful day in Paris. My thoughts of it had changed. I never really wanted to go to Paris; I thought I already new what it would be like. To an extent, it was what I thought it would be, but it definitely blew my mind of its true nature. Just like Van Gogh, Anne, Monet, and Paris, may the time I see Christ face-to-face blow these “awestruck original moments” out of the water. Oh the anticipation I have to meet Him face-to-face, to see the Christ for who He really is.