Yesterday in Paris we enjoyed walking around Montmatre. British tourists, smiling at French souvenirs that looked as tasteless and over-priced as any British souvenirs. We drank French coffee…
We enjoyed the sign written in English outside a café: ‘Skinny peoples are easier to kidnap. Stay safe. Eat crepes.’ We ate French crepes.
Later, in a train station, we saw a quote from French author Victor Hugo: ‘C’est une triste chose de songer que la nature parle et que le genre humain n’écoute pas.
Translated: ‘How sad to think that nature speaks and mankind doesn’t listen.’
I mused on the natural world, of our job as custodians… life is brief and the earth long-lasting… the old song ‘This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.’ Just life-tourists?
In the hotel we filled in our ‘Passenger Locator Forms’ so we can return to the UK. It’s online… supposed to be simple and straightforward. It wasn’t… I wasn’t a joyful tourist!
We met with sister-in-law Geneviève, our French nephews and nieces and their children. We talked about Chris – their husband, father, grandfather… his life, death, the memories he has left… his years ‘passing through’ this world.
Today we shall think of my brother Chris. At the graveside, in the church, in conversations… many spoken words… many more silent thoughts.
Chris wasn’t a tourist… just passing through, sightseeing… his purpose was deeper… he was a pilgrim, travelling with determination, alongside fellow-pilgrims, helping, encouraging, pointing others in the direction he sought to travel.
We had news from daughter-Jo: ‘I have finally turned a corner And I actually managed to walk to the South pier. First time since Covid back in October. Now enjoying the sun and fresh air before walking home.’ Good news.
In a couple of days I’ll be there, back in Lowestoft, continuing my pilgrimage… musing on Chris’ pilgrimage and the Jesus who said ‘I am the way’ in response to questions about the final destination… Chris has already arrived!