Monday, September 27, 2010

Musings from a park bench

Forty-six minutes from my hotel room to the visitors entrance. A walk, a subway, a walk across the Seine, a tramway (we'd call it "light rail" in the States), a walk, and I'm there. McDonalds looked like a 20 minute queue, so did KFC. Before you go all "you're in Paris and you're looking to eat at those places?!", take a look around. I didn't budget an hour to ninety minutes for lunch. The hardest thing to get in a restaurant in Paris is the check, second only to some attention when you sit down at the table. So here I sit in what can best be described as "the smoking courtyard." I have about an hour to kill so I decided to write this. Not my most efficient use of time ever, but I'm grateful that it's not raining.

Things I've observed: although Sodexho is doing a fine business operating corporate cafeterias across the USA, at least there is evidence that Cushman & Wakefield are in charge of leasing some French office space. That's probably a fair swap, all things considered.

What do I hear right now? Renault diesel vans driving by the office buildings, a steady drone of highway noise echoing from the steel and glass office buildings surrounding the courtyard that I am dawdling in. Airplanes overhead, hammering steel somewhere toward the Seine; perhaps on that island in the middle of it that looks to be another place for more office buildings. Sorry, I had to power-off and power-on my Blackberry. Despite my best efforts to solve the problem using various techniques offered by Blackberry Curve trackball sufferers across the country, it finally refuses to scroll up. Now if only I had some confidence that my local T-Mobile shop would solve the problem. Guess I'll have to finally return it when I am home from this trip.

I had a rough time sleeping last night. A bunch of things running through my mind that I need to let go of.  Much easier said than done. A friend reminded me, "Eye on the prize," a few days ago. I had the opportunity to share that bit of encouragement right back yesterday. I had to chuckle at the response; "It's a whole lot easier to hear that when you're not sitting hip-deep in it, isn't it?" Sure is.

And yet, it's the only thing that we can control; where we set our attention. So yes, then I start arguing with myself: What if I seem disinterested, or if I miss an opening because I'm trying to stay focused on The Main Thing? I just have to trust that He'll nudge me at the right time, or I won't be completely clueless. Thing is, I'm pretty good at "completely clueless".

I think I'm almost ready to move on from this valley. Ok, I'm more than a little ready. Last year I knew that I wasn't ready. Same with most of this year. I probably won't be completely ship-shape until next year, but I don't get to chose the timing.

Someone asked a question on Twitter the other day. My answer was simple; Expectations. I wanted to pair it with Patience, but really, if your expectations are in order, you've already got patience sorted out.


  1. Can you move over just a little bit? I'd love to sit right down next to you. My Friend, we are in much of the same place and although you have been sailing through these stormy waters a bit longer than I, I know much of what you speak of.

    You are absolutely correct, and it was the very first lesson I learned when I got on this ship; The only thing we can control in life, is how we react to what is put in front of us. Focus and action. Action and focus. Those are some pretty mighty words and can sometimes be intimidating, but one foot in front of the other with eyes, mind and heart open, we will be fine.

    I have identified the two major life lessons I need to learn on this leg of my voyage and patience is one of them. The funny thing is, I never thought of myself as an impatient person, but I have learned that I am. Especially in expectations.

    Something I learned in a former voyage, is that expectations are not a good thing. Expectations set you up for disappointment. Loose the expectations and replace them with acceptance and gratitude. What is put before you is meant to me. What your will and wish to be, is not necessarily His. By having expectations, you are always judging what is, by what you expect. Seldom are they the same and when they are not, you are left wanting. Adopting a sense of acceptance allows you to be grateful for what you have and to live in the moment.

    I hope this is all making sense. It is just flying off the fingertips and what we would be talking about if I were sitting by your side on that bench.

    Enjoy your day, Mike. I'll be thinking of you.


  2. Sounds like you're surrounding yourself with some pretty wise friends. "Eye on The Prize" are great words to live by, but good grief it is tough when you're in it. I guess that's what fellowship is all about. You're blessed that you have that. Hang in there. One day, we'll all see what He had in mind for us and hold that Prize.