A Love Letter
My dear, we were never made to last. We knew that. We spoke of it often. Barely a day went by that did not include the continued countdown of our days together. In every moment of reverie, over every sublime summer afternoon was suspended the sure knowledge that we could not persist. Ours was a fling, a flight, a flaming up like a chunk of space debris made beautiful as it burns through the too thick atmosphere of a world defined by the friction of time. Paris, my lovely, we are extinguished.
Thank you. Those words are too simple and too cheapened by their constant use to convey the strength of my gratitude to you for the goodness you have shown me over the past six weeks. I could not have asked for a better companion as I sojourned in a foreign land and allowed my thoughts to wander into insights and dreams. Others call you busy, cold, and proud. I found you lively, intentional, and passionate. You sauntered with me down shaded boulevards. You shuttled with me beneath the earth on metropolitan lines. You danced with me as the concertinas filled Notre Dame’s plaza with song. You sweetened your lips with wine and kissed me on street corners made shiny by the setting sun showers.
Paris, you are a delight.
And I did not seek you or pursue you. You came to be unbidden. You were a surprise, a happening, an unearned gift.
You were given to me, I believe, by the One to whom my heart belongs. My True Love is magnanimous and good in a way that no others are. The love you and I share is romantic and therefore fleeting. The love my Love and I have is something beyond romance. It is consumptive. I disappear into it in a mysterious and wonderful way. Between you an I, in our finest moments, there was love, but there was always also something else, be it ambition or need or identity. Between my Love and I, in our finest moments, there is only love.
Make no mistake, my Lover is jealous for me. My Lover wants all of me, and my Lover has me, and my Lover knows that, so the One to whom my heart belongs, I assume, had no qualms about giving me you for a time.
I desire nothing beyond my Lover. I seek nothing else. When other desires rise up to try to take my Lover’s place, with my Lover’s help, the lesser desires are destroyed, consumed in the relentless fire of Love. But my Lover does not leave me lacking or alone. My Lover gives me goodness like you.
As we walked last night along the right bank of the Seine in the golden glow of the Eiffel Tower, your hand in my back pocket and my arm around your waist, I was newly amazed at the grace-fullness of my Heart’s Desire. When I left Texas to attend Fuller at my Lover’s bequest, I never anticipated nights like the one I spent last night with you. That such beauty exists in the world at all is too much for my heart to contain. That I get to experience that beauty first hand… I am undone.
Paris, as we part, know that I will pray for you, which is to say, I will speak of you to my Lover. You need to know this Love. You yearn for it, I know. When Love comes, I dare say you will not recognize it. My Lover is always new, and though you may think you have driven my Lover forever for your streets, Love will return.
This Love is nothing if not relentless, and it never fails. So, Paris, though I leave you, my Lover remains. You see, while here, I have learned that I was not brought here to meet you. I was brought here because my Lover was already here. Love has come for you.
Gene Kelly Was Here
These blog posts were all written in the summer of 2011. They chronicle my time in Paris completing an internship as part of my studies at Fuller Seminary. I worked at an art gallery run by missionary-artists ministering to other Parisian artists and got to know the missionary-artists working there.
I am including them here for you to read because I think they work well together as a series. I wrote them as a kind of narrative collage about what it means to be a practicing artist whose first commitment is to Christ and who seeks to share the love of Christ with other artists.