It’s a place that fills some of my most treasured memories. It’s where I had the best crepe of my life. It’s where I fell in love with coffee. It’s where I found the most amazing bookstore (thanks to Amanda Scott!). It’s where I formed new friendships and then watched the Eiffel Tower light up the night sky with them. We laughed. We explored. We were adventurous! When I was in Paris and the UK, I felt like I was finally starting to live the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic.
But that was before the terror. Before the city of lights went dark and the city of love felt fear. Before over 100 people died. Before people no longer felt safe leaving their homes.
I remember Paris being a bustling city that never stops, but now I imagine it’s streets and Metro stations deserted and it’s world-class cafes and patisseries empty. I imagine the tables that face the streets longing for a spectator willing to watch passers-by, willing to observe the theater before them. But I imagine the theater of the streets longing for anyone to walk by as well.*
Though France may be our oldest ally, the French and Americans haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. I certainly felt those tensions when I had the opportunity to visit Paris. But we sympathize…no empathize. Americans know what it is to experience an attack on home soil. We know what it is be scared to go anywhere. We know the fear, the hurt, the anger, the sadness. We’ve asked why, how could they, and what next.
So, to Paris and all of France, we know. We stand by you and we pray for you.
*For anyone who has never been to Paris, many of the cafes and restaurants there have patio seating and all the chairs face the street. While I was in Paris, a local told me and the group I was with that it’s a French pastime to “people watch.”