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No Need to Prove Anything. Just Be Ready.

by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

““You don’t have to prove anything,” my mother said. “Just be ready for what God sends.””

William Stafford

It’s like William Stafford wrote these words for what Soul Strolling means to me. No need to prove anything. No necessity for fancy discoveries or wordy explanations. Just the pure simplicity of being in a new city and the ecstatic wonder of joy and travel. Opening ourselves to the readiness for what the Great Mystery sends. Ready or not, something will come and time will pass.

Whenever I mention Paris, I can usually tell by the look in a person's eyes that they either understand my connection to the city or they don’t… or they think they understand, but not quite. Those that think they understand are often attached to the romance and lyricism of the city. Their minds drift to the Eiffel Tower and images of lovers strolling hand in hand along the Seine. All true. All Paris.

What they may miss, however, is the notion that Paris is so much more. What many fail to imagine are the winding passageways littered with a stray whiskey bottle or two and the remnants of a dumpster-dive meal. They can’t fathom each night passing a homeless mother and four children huddled on the sidewalks beneath ragged blankets with not quite enough plastic tarp to keep them dry in the winter rain. The City of Lights has a dark corner or two. Perhaps these are the things that God sends as a reminder?

Casual travelers don’t understand that from time to time Notre Dame has bleachers on her front steps set up like a spectator’s stadium, but that inside the magnificent church, a silence so sweet envelops even the most cynical of believers. Rose-colored glass glimmers with two-euro candles that send prayers into the rafters, out the mouths of gargoyles, and onto the banks of the swollen Seine.

In my wander lust, I see God everywhere in this city… in the bustling subways filled with smells a far cry from sweet incense; in the cozy patisseries that tempt one’s taste buds with a beckoning call from each elaborate pastry case; atop Montmartre where Sacre Coeur glistens like a mountain of snow against cornflower blue skies; inside the catacombs where human bones lay stacked like cords of wood chopped for a long, cold winter.

I hear God’s whispers in the cobblestones and church bells; and through the barely-understood language and lilting notes from flutes and fiddles of street performers who play on random corners.

In my Paris, you don’t have to prove anything. Just come as you are. Walk. Listen. Pray. Weep. Dance. Eat. Laugh. Love… And be prepared for what God and the Great Mystery send.

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Reader Comments (1)

Very nice post. Beautiful illustration of a complex city seen through a realist as well as a lover's eye. xoxo

January 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

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