- I woke this morning and felt ridiculously depressed. It was my last day in Paris, and I didn’t want to leave. I wasn’t ready to go yet, and nothing about returning to Lyon seemed the slightest bit appealing.
- A few of the girls (including myself) got up early enough to eat our last quick, free breakfast downstairs around 9:00AM at the Hotel Marignon.
- At 9:45AM, Wendy led our small group back to the Notre Dame so that we could attend and experience what Catholic mass would be like in such an enormous church. It began at 10:00AM, and it was another one of those indescribable experiences.
Hmm… that was kind of cryptic, huh? Where do I start so that you can fully understand what I mean without revealing my whole life story? Okay, I’ve decided. I’ll start here: I used to be Catholic.
Growing up, my family was fairly religious. We went to mass regularly, and I received the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. However, as I got older, I truly began understanding religion, and I realized that the values held dear by the Catholic Church didn’t align with my personal values. Therefore, I stepped away from Catholicism and, with time, so did my family. At that point, I declared myself a nondenominational Christian.
However, I don’t really know what that means. Religion isn’t truly a large part of my daily life anymore. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that I probably only think about “religious” things twice a month (if that). Of course, certain unpredictable and uncontrollable experiences have the tendency and ability to bring us closer to religion on a whim. Both of my grandfathers passed away recently. They were very religious men, and the last time I was in a Church, I’m pretty sure it was for one of their funerals.
Knowing this, attending mass at the Notre Dame was ridiculously overwhelming. Everything hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I couldn’t understand the language, the procedure of mass was exactly the same. It brought back hundreds of memories of masses from when I was younger, and it brought back the painful memories of those two funeral services. Even the smell of the incense made me think of my grandfathers. Unable to help myself, I cried the entire mass through. It was a beautiful service, and I made the choice to receive the host at communion by the end.
In its conclusion, I wiped my eyes and thought positively. If France has taught me anything, it has taught me about what genuinely means the world to me: my family. When I go home, I can’t forget how blessed I am for having them. I must find everyway possible to show them how much I appreciate their love, encouragement, and influence in my life.
- After mass, we headed off in our own directions stopping at souvenir shops, getting lunches, and then meeting back up at the Hotel Marignon in order to grab our bags. We would be heading back out onto the Metro and trains today in pursuit of Lyon.
- Our train left from Paris Gare Lyon station at 2:54PM, and we were all very well settled into our seats with our books, cards, and iPods before it started bustling off. Even so, I was not very thrilled. Of course, there was nothing I could do about it, so I let time, which had initially led me to Paris, to lead me even farther on my life journey. Besides, I figured the sooner I reached Lyon, the sooner I would be able to find myself back in Paris someday, someway, somehow.
- At around 5:00PM, we found ourselves back in Lyon’s Part Dieu station, and my amazing trip to Paris was complete.