Daily Prompt: Come Fly with Me
Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home. Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRAVELS.
Hello dear friends
Let me begin my sad and sorry tale of being in trouble far from home in 2008.
Finally, I was in Paris …
A place I had always longed to visit. But it was … far … far … far from home in Australia. What a journey we’d had to get here!
Still, my husband was with me and we arrived fresh from five days in London. Excited … joyful … untouchable almost.
“Au revoir” I said effortlessly to the clerk at the Hotel Reception “we’re off to dinner!”
And then it happened.
“Oh no!” everyone cried at once as I tripped on the step which I failed to see whilst talking to the man from Reception.
My husband reached out a caring arm to help me up as my ankle had swollen like a balloon and a large lump appeared on top of my foot; it seemed to be a blood clot. Oh, I knew I was in a lot of trouble.
Spontaneously I cried out to God as I had never done before!
“I’m going to be fine” I insisted with more positivity than I felt. No one was convinced as a crowd gathered to look at this poor Australian woman who had fallen foul of a really old, decrepit Paris Hotel.
I asked my husband to massage the clot of blood and as he did so I silently begged God for help. Magically, after five minutes the blood clot began to diminish and eventually disappeared completely! The crowd who were issuing advice to seek help, were amazed.
“Let’s go to dinner” I insisted as I got up and limped off on Geoff’s arm, out the door and along the street to the Italian Restaurant we had seen earlier. Yes, we were going to eat Italian food in Paris. Shame … shame … shame!
Fast forward hobbling home … going to bed … painkillers and more massage.
2 am I am awake while Geoff sleeps the sleep of the dead. I am in great pain … I don’t want to go to hospital in a strange country. I tell myself that I cannot (I WILL not) miss our train to Vienna early the next morning.
3 am I feel so alone. I am really really scared. My foot and ankle are now huge and turning all the colours of the rainbow. I am almost overwhelmed by panic. I am in this strange old hotel not knowing one single soul in this city and my French is almost non-existent.
I send a text message to a good friend back home in Australia asking her to pray for my ankle when I realise it is day time there. She responds immediately! We have a text message conversation and I feel better. I am strengthened. I take some more painkillers and sleep for a couple of hours.
And so dear friends, I set out next morning wondering how I will catch various trains as Geoff pushes all our suitcases on his own.
I continually go up and down stairs on platforms – in record time – to catch connecting trains, when escalators did not work. I limp … I hobble … I walk through two days of train travel and connections and I do not falter!
Meanwhile, Geoff has somehow picked up a flu and the two of us can be seen on the trains looking worse for wear as Geoff sleeps and I elevate my bad foot for pain relief. What a sight we must have been!
I cannot explain it, but I focus on the travel itinerary and REFUSE to admit defeat. I have no idea how I accomplish this, but it is as if Someone Above is pushing me ever onwards saying to me: “Just keep going and you’ll be fine.”
And do you know what? The more I tried to walk on that ankle the better it got … the faster it healed. Sometimes, I wanted to sit and cry …but I REFUSED.
Now, looking back on the week that it took my ankle to heal, I do not know where the strength came from to keep going. I do know however, that I have never felt so alone, so frightened and so far … far … far from home as I did during that first night when a Paris Hotel almost ‘done me in!’
However, I believe it was GRACE that got me through. The mystery of grace came to my aid on that long lonely night in my Paris Hotel. A friend prayed for me and grace lifted me up and kept me going … and I was grateful.
My ankle healed in record time dear friends, and Geoff and I still puzzle over what took place that night in Paris.
No marvelling at the Eiffel Tower for us. We were too busy marvelling over my miraculous recovery!
But I do know that I felt the force of grace that night in Paris in 2008 and it stayed with me all through my trip. You know, I do believe that we are not lacking in faith when we feel frightened and alone at times like this.
I learned that it is the ability to get up and go on that determines the level of our faith. It was the mystery of grace that fed my faith that fateful night and healed my ankle.
“I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamott
PS: We did get to experience the Eiffel Tower on our return from other countries. We walked along the Seine as the lights reflected on the river, marvelled at the Moulin Rouge, visited Notre Dame … and stayed at the same decrepit hotel as we had before.
However, as we flew home from Paris on Air France, that awful night of suffering in Paris was the furthest thing from our minds.