I was listening to a cd in my car on the way to school this morning when one of my favorite songs came on. Taylor Swift’s Begin Again has meant a lot to me over the past year. I truly feel that it was a wink from God that I even noticed this song at all as I am not a bit Taylor Swift fan.
My daughter, who will graduate from college in December, had plans to study abroad in the summer when R died so I wanted her to keep her life as normal as possible and encouraged her to go on with her plans- which was to leave 1 month after her dad’s death. He and I had a trip planned to visit her- every detail was lined out. I spent hours on the computer for months booking flights, finding apartments in Madrid and Paris to rent. It was going to be a great ending to her time there. But- my plans were only that— My Plans. And we all know that our plans don’t really mean anything. I didn’t know what to do! Everyone told me that we should go on with our plans. My sister offered to go with me in R’s place, but my son stepped in and said he would go. He had refused going with us before, but he would now go in his dad’s place.
I will be the first to admit that I do not have perfect children… and tensions were high at times even though we were in a beautiful place we had never been. Madrid was fun, but Paris— oh, Paris, well it was wonderful. However, to a 22 year old young man who would rather be out fishing or hunting more than almost anything else in the world, Paris was lacking. My daughter was upset with her brother for not appreciating where he was. She told me later that it made her so mad to see him not care when she knew how much her dad had been looking forward to the trip. Needless to say, she was not being very nice to him.
So there we sat eating lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the City of Light. Me still so engulfed in grief and terrified of the future, I didn’t know how I was going to move forward. I was trying to enjoy the city, people watch, just take it all in—and that’s when I heard them—FIGHTING. My 20 and 22 year old children bickering at each other. I sat there and thought to myself. How horrible- I will never take them on a vacation ever again. We won’t ever have any normal family outings again. And just as I’m thinking this, a beautifully dressed woman rides by on a bicycle. I watched her fade off into the distance and started wondering who she was. Where did she live in that great city? Where did she work? What was her story. And I let myself imagine me riding down that Paris street on a bike. And then the image became me, selling my home in the states and moving to Paris— I really could do that. I could move to Paris and teach English- I told myself. I will give this some time and then if I want… that is what I will do. I’ll completely change my life.
At that moment something changed in my brain. I was able to dream of a life for myself. It had only been a few months since I had lost my husband, but I knew that I could not allow myself to stay in that dark place that I found myself. I had to have a dream to hold on to. Paris would be my dream… not really the actuality of Paris because I would probably never really do that. But, the idea that I could begin my life again. That at that moment, I had the ability to do whatever I wanted with the rest of my life. It was an empowering feeling. One that I will never forget.
We got home from out trip and a few months later, I heard Taylor Swift’s song, Begin Again, on the radio. Of course, my situation was completely different than the persona in the song. But I loved these lines:
I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break, burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again
So that became a great song for me to listen to. I put it on my ipod and ran to it in the early morning hours with my friends. I was telling my daughter and sister about how it was helping me. There were some lines I wasn’t completely sure what were being sung so I got on Youtube to find the lyrics. Her music video was there and I started watching it. Gosh, that looks like the Seine River!!! —- all of the sudden it hits me, her video was filmed in Paris!!! What are the odds???? It makes me smile every time I think of how I felt when I realized all of this. A huge wink from God that I was going to be OK. A wink that reminds me every time I hear that song that what I felt in Paris that day is what is real and a possibility in my life. Thank you my wonderful Heavenly Father for caring about even the minutest details of my life.