This week was... slower. But strangely really wonderful at the same time. Soeur Brazeal and I were talking about it last night and how we felt so good and satisfied with our week... even though we didn't have much physical evidence to show for it. We just feel like we worked and worked and tried and tried and did all we could, so now we have to leave the harvest to the Lord. And even though nobody wanted to stay and talk with us... there were countless instances of us getting to help and serve and visit and invite. Life is beautiful.
The Pantheon! Where a great number of France's heroes are buried.
Voltaire. Pierre and Marie Curie. Louis Braille (Invented... Braille. haha).
Jean Moulin (Freedom fighter during WW2). and Victor Hugo.
Look at this unreal view of the Eiffel Tower from the steps of the Pantheon. Oh la.
The Cluny Museum, or The Museum of the Middle Ages.
Built into what used to be the Roman Baths.
The Luxembourg Gardens! We had a really eventful P-day... haha
So grateful Soeur Brazeal is an avid adventurer.
We just got a new ward mission leader and he is a BOSS. He is from North Carolina and been back from his mission for about two years. And he is SO good at getting things rolling and getting us into the member's homes and helping the members step up. He came up with this idea for a missionary board to help the ward get to know us all a bit better.
My picture will only be up there for... not very much longer... but hey. haha
We had to walk up this HUGE hill to go pass by a referral last night.
And on the way back down we realized we had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower...
and it was sparkling like it does at the top of every hour.
On Sunday there was a new member at church. She is a woman from Tahiti and she will be living here for a few months. She had come to church with someone but they couldn't take her home, and she didn't know how to get around on the metros and buses, so we got to take her! Little did I know it was such a tender mercy from God. We talked a lot about Tahiti and I mentioned that I had served with Soeur Lai and she knew her. Then I remembered that practically all of my friends from the MTC went to Tahiti, so I asked her if she knew my friend Soeur Taylor. And she stopped in her tracks and said "Oh, of course I know Soeur Taylor. EVERYONE knows Soeur Taylor. They call her the miracle of Tahiti." Then she told me a story I will never forget. Soeur Taylor and her companion were riding bikes one night and a drunk man driving his car hit Soeur Taylor. She was badly injured and hung in the balance between life and death for several days. All of Tahiti came together and fasted and prayed for her. And she miraculously began to get better, but couldn't continue as a missionary and had to go home to fully recover. And the man who had hit her... was devestated. He was wracked with grief over what he had done to this poor religious girl. But a few months later... Soeur Taylor went back. She went back to Tahiti to finish her mission! And she went and found the man who had hit her and told him that she forgave him and that it was all ok. And the man? He just wept. And then he said "I want to meet with the missionaries." Isn't that BEAUTIFUL? When she told me that story I literally wept. Stood on a street in Paris and sobbed. God is great. Soeur Morgan Taylor is my hero.
Joelle! She is from the Ivory Coast. Cote d'Ivoirians are BEAUTIFUL and always just so wonderfully kind. She is going to finish 1 Nephi this week. Pray for her!
This week wrapped up another great lesson in my life. A lesson about apathy.
God does NOT want an apathetic people. I believe God wants a passionate people. Go look up apathy in the bible dictionary and then search all the cross references. Zeal. Ferver. Valiant. The scriptures are filled with examples! God doesn't want us to be luke warm about anything (Revelation 3:16). After all, He has commanded us to love Him with all of our heart and soul and strength. That's not exactly a request for half-heartedness.
Sometimes I am tempted to be apathetic because it seems less risky. I try to shield my heart from hurt by not caring too much. If I care too much, it means I'm vulnerable. Sometimes it seems easier not to care too much about anything rather than to risk how it feels when I cared too much.
A beautiful example I have always loved is from Anne of Green Gables. Anne writes a story that she wants to be published with all of her heart. She sends it in and waits and anticipates and fills herself with hope. Then the manuscript comes back... unpublished and rejected. She sits on the porch and tells Marilla what happened and Marilla asks her why she let herself care so much about it. She tells Anne it is better to walk calmly along and do without flying... and therefore do without the thud. And then Anne says something perfect: "I can't help but fly up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through a sunset. It pays for the thud."
As Marilla says, if you want to go without one, you have to go without the other. You can't soar without risking a thud. But the only other option is a risk-free way of living and a heart fully protected... and a life half-lived.
So, as Nephi and Mumford & Sons say, "Awake my soul!"
I want to live and live well. Fully and deeply. I want to take a line from Henry David Thoreau and my Mother and "Suck all the marrow out of life." I want to be like Jane Austen and "have no notion of loving people by halves." I don't want to be afraid to be the one who cares or loves the most. Even if I risk looking foolish or vulnerable or weak. It's the only way to be able to look back on my life and say that I truly lived.
Soar in those heights. Live meaningfully. Love deeply. Care profoundly. It pays for any thud.
"The heaviest burden is to exist without LIVING." -Victor Hugo
Love, Soeur Autumn Bradley