Sunday, October 23, 2011

La Deuxième Partie de Paris

Our second day in Paris was a Sunday. When we left our hotel that morning we (including our instructors) didn't really have any idea when or where Church was, but we left for church all the same! Brother Waddell had a general idea where the meetinghouse was, but it was a very general idea. There we were, standing in a big cluster on a sidewalk in the middle of Paris, while our directors stared at a map trying to figure out where to go. I was worried. Missing church that Sunday was the last thing I wanted to do. I needed church that day. Needed. I don't know how others felt at that time, but I was in need of some spiritual relief from the city. So there we were, standing around, with me in my own private panic attack, when a really friendly man in a suit and tie walked right up to us. "You looking for church? Follow me." So we did, and he led us right to the meetinghouse. Which was BEAUTIFUL, by the way.

When we got there, the place was absolutely packed with people. I guess that day was ward or stake conference or something. Walking through the archway from the street into the courtyard of that building, I could almost physically feel the nastiness of Paris lift and be replaced by complete and utter peace. The difference was amazing and freeing. When we got there they were already halfway through church. Which meant I was severely bummed out, but grateful just to be there. I wasn't bummed for long, because the bishopric set up a sacrament meeting just for us! It was amazing! It was conducted by Brother Romney, presided over by a member of the French bishopric, the sacrament was blessed by Brother Hartvigsen and Juan, and it was passed by Brother Holt and someone else. I don't know how to explain what I was feeling in that moment. It was a mix of joy, relief, gratitude, an overwhelming sense of the Spirit, and pure exhaustion, I think, but as soon as Juan started saying the sacrament prayer, I started sobbing. I completely lost it. I am so grateful for the gospel. I am grateful for it's truth and that it is spread throughout the world. That Sabbath day, I had an overwhelmingly powerful experience in which I received witness of its truth. I also was so so so grateful for the church members who were so open and friendly to us. This one single sacrament meeting changed my entire attitude about France and its people. It made the remaining few days of my journey more worthwhile, it expanded my view of the expanse of the church, and it made me more aware and grateful of the beauty of the organization of the church. It is absolutely, without a doubt, true.

Going to church was literally a breath of fresh air, so it was sad when we had to leave. But it renewed my spirit, and I was ready to take on the city once more! The rest of the day in Paris actually turned out to be quite amazing. First we headed to Notre Dame! It was so beautiful!

I stared at this massive rose window for about twenty minutes. It was stunning. Notre Dame felt/looked different from any other cathedral we'd been to.

After  we spent some time inside, we headed up the 402 steps to the top of the towers of Notre Dame. The view was pretty incredible.

Me and the gargoyles! They were pretty stinking sweet!

The bell of Notre Dame! Quasimodo was here...

Upon our departure from Notre Dame, we crossed the courtyard to Saint-Chappelle. This building has the largest collection of 13th-century stained glass. That means I liked it. 

It was so beautiful. Each pane depicted different moments of Christ's life. I loved it!

Here's a random pic of the Metro in Paris. It was pretty cool.
After Saint-Chappelle, we headed back to the hotel and got out of our church clothes. We had to be warm for our boat cruise down the Seine! It was a great way to end the Sabbath.

I've decided that Paris is a really beautiful city. That is, when I'm not actually in the city. I like seeing it from up high, or from the steps of Sacre Couer, or on a boat on the river Seine. That's when I loved it the most. Those were the moments when I felt like I was in Paris. 


Stuart Clark said...

Yay for the the overwhelming power of the Spirit to unify hearts and lift souls! What a remarkable day, thanks for sharing.


PS - nice job on the Story@Home button!

Tiffany said...

Through this whole post I heard music. :) I am glad that the gospel brought peace to your soul - it tends to do that from time to time.

Notre Dame is my favorite!

The Clarks said...

what a wonderful experience! i'm glad you could feel the spirit so strongly that day.

you say that saint-chappelle place was right by notre dame??? i never saw that place and it bugs me because it sounds like it was right there and it looks GORGEOUS! i love all the rainbows on the floor. so pretty!

Taunalee said...

Aw bummer Rach! Yeah it was within walking distance. We didn't walk very far at all to get there. :( It was absolutely gorgeous! Get Steve to take you there. ;)

Taralyn said...

Such pretty places! And thanks for sharing the testimony building moment. :) No doubt God is global!