I just got a text from my son and his sweet wife saying they were at a London station waiting to board the train to Paris.
They are going to stay with Tim, the eldest son of our oldest friend.
Oldest is not a measurement of his age, but a good description of the length of the long years we have all known each other.
I was also reminded of the familiar theme of looking at the past and carrying truths that have been given there and carrying them as we travel into an uncertain future.
I realized in the moment that Sam is picking up the thread. He is carrying the tapestry silk and weaving it into his picture.
I am a great believer in the picture. It’s the picture we make for our children. It’s made from the tales we tell our children as we travel, or it’s the photos we show them when they accidentally discover a box full of old-fashioned photos of their parents looking like young people.
It’s the picture we create together celebrating simple moments and complicated occasions. It’s the picture we gather from our past and throw to them and hope they catch it.
In this moment, Sam has caught it. He will run with it and develop it and mold it and carry it until he has a child. Then one day when they are boarding a train, going on a journey, he will know they have their own silk and picture, but made from some of the strands of his and mine.
So they are going to Paris.
I love Paris.
I went there for the first time when I was 8. In 1967 my wonderful parents had bravely taken me and my sister on a three-week adventure around Europe in a VW camper van, and we ended the trip in Paris.
I can still recall the excitement that I felt as we negotiated the traffic system around the Arc de Triomphe. I remember singing and skipping all day on the Paris sidewalks and by the river Seine. I smiled on my way around all the sights and on the smelly subway. I just simply loved it.
So I went again in 1977 with a couple of university friends. On this trip I sat in cool cafes drinking coffee, pretending to be sophisticated—doing less skipping and more sipping. On my college walls I posted black-and-white pictures of people posing with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
I went again in 2002; this time as a family. I wanted them to see it first through my eyes, in my way. I wanted to give each one of them a silk thread they could sew into their picture if they wanted to. Each one a different color. We walked the streets and parks and went into the museums to look at beautiful paintings and sculptures, but more than anything we created memories together breathing them in through the very atmosphere of this amazing place.
So I am now looking backwards.
I am a believer in looking back at God’s faithfulness in the past. Talking about it, then giving thanks for it and handing on to build a future with those we love.
That’s the thread for me between Paris and the Psalms and between me and my son who stood at the station.
So I am giving thanks today that Sam is going to Paris, to stay with the son of our oldest friend. The friend Mike and I share so many of our significant teenage memories with, the one whom we give great thanks for.
So Sam is traveling to the place my parents dared to take me in 1967.
So I hope that there are many things that my children know about God’s character that we have shared with them that they will be able to weave into their picture. I pray it is full of many different colors and textures and that all of it goes into making their very own, beautiful silk tapestry of their life.