Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mixed Blessings

I guess there really isn’t such a thing as a mixed blessing. A blessing is a blessing. My emotions about them are mixed. On a trip to France I have to wear a walking boot to immobilize a possibly broken toe. Call me vain, but I have cried tears about how clunky I look in this boot and how clumsy I feel. Do you have any idea how many stairs I have to traipse up and down and down and up with two suitcases—in this ridiculous boot—in just one tiny train station? Then when I get to the monstrous mother of all train stations, Gare Montparnasse, how will I even hope to manage?

Philippians 4:8 reminds me to think on what is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, so I will have to be on intentional lookout for blessings of the boot.

I am very thankful for the blessing of this trip. I love France. I am thankful for the boot, which will enable my toe to heal. And guess what—in my first few train trips, kind young people helped me on stairs inside the train and in the stations. Before I left home, I looked up how to apologetically ask in French for help or thank someone by explaining I’m clumsy in this boot. I was just about to say, “Merci. Je suis maladroite dans cette chaussure,” when the young lady who had offered in French to help me down some narrow, curving stairs, said in perfect English, “I am used to this. I travel with my mother all the time.”

You might think I’d be insulted by the mother inference, but I was not. In fact, this young lady looked to be about 20, so I figure I’m actually old enough to be her grandmother. And if her 40-year-old mother needs help with luggage, suddenly I feel pretty spry, not to mention blessed.

Postscript: Now Françoise tells me my boot would be a botte. Chaussure is shoe. And I have conquered massive Gare Montparnasse in my botte, grâce à many escalators and rolling sidewalks, two young people who offered to carry my larger suitcase down long staircases, and some muscles I built hauling luggage earlier in this trip.

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