The Romantic River Seine is Raging

Notre Dame Gargoyle overlooking The Seine RiverThis morning’s Daily Mail from the UK reported this chilling bit of news: River Seine flooding. Daily Mail Photo*18 people have died across Europe as a result of last week’s torrential rains, City View of The Seine Riverand “its warned River Seine could swell to 21 feet above its normal level.” Daily Mail photo of River Seine Flooding*Last night, the flood was 6.10 meters (20 feet) high. Trees lining The Seine River(Compare the above picture to this picture I took a few weeks ago.)Entree du port de la Rochelle. Paul SignacI can’t imagine this is happening, but it is. Eiffel Tower along Seine RiverI’d been working on a post about the romantic Seine, but now it’s on a rampage. Louvre Museum. ParisThe Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, where we visited under blue skies last month, The Musée d'Orsayare shut down and dozens of volunteers are scrambling to save Portrait de l'artiste. Vincent Van Gogh. 1889some 38,000 works of art by transporting them to higher floors. The Pantheon along the River SeineThe Grand Palais exhibition center, two National Libraries, Paris by Night from Eiffel Towerand some of the subways have also shut down. The Seine River and the Eiffel TowerJPGWhat was so life-giving and peaceful has become deadly! Walking along the River SeingBut, let me back up and tell you about my experience of the River Seine in May
and then bring us back to today.  River Seine winds through FranceThe River Seine winds like a silver snake from Source-Seine for 777 km Seine empties into English ChannelJPGthrough Paris and out to the English Channel at La Havre. Flying Across English Channel to France at SunsetWhen we flew across the channel from London,
River Seine from the airit was the striking focal point of my enraptured gaze (since I mustn’t stare at the sun); I sat transfixed, watching it shimmer in the sunset. The Seine River along fertile farmlandThe Seine River nourishes all the fertile farmland of the Paris Basin, The Seine River, like a silver snakeand from time immemorial it’s been France’s major commercial shipping artery. River Seine as seen from the airThe Lower Seine is dredged, so it’s navigable by ocean-going vessels to Rouen, The Seine River is widewhich is 75 miles inland from the English Channel. River Seine BoatsSmaller vessels can ply the river’s waterways past Rouen, through Paris,
and much beyond.Painter painting The Seine RiverThe River Seine is a celebrated destination for painters and lovers alikeVincent Van Gough La Nuit étoilé "The Starry Night" 1888because it symbolizes all that is romance and beauty in Paris! Aerial view of River SeineThis magnificent river cuts through the heart of Paris, Seine as seen from the airroughly dividing the city in half, with the “Left Bank” being the southern half,
or the “left” bank if you’re looking downstream (although this view is upstream). River Seine wide and deepHistorically, the Left Bank was the Latin Quarter, dwelling place of artists, Standing on Bridge overlooking The Seine Riverwriters, poets, philosophers and students…the creative dreamers and thinkers. Chimera overlooking The Seine RiverThe Right Bank is alive with commerce and business. Paris from the AirBut, just like the “right brain” and “left brain” myths have been debunked, The Seine River flowing through the heart of Paristhe Left Bank and Right Bank have succumbed to the “East” and “West,” Sidewalk lined with artwork along The Seine Riverand although there are still distinct flavors to each side, The Seine River at Nightthe city is brimming with life, business, and feasting late into the night
on both sides of the River Seine. Rue des Lombards at NightWe stayed on rue des Lombards almost under the shadow of Notre Dame
on the Right Bank, but I dare say the streets were still overflowing at midnight! 37 Bridges along River Seine in ParisWithin the city of Paris, there are 37 bridges across the Seine, Pont Neuf Bridge in Paristhe oldest being Pont Neuf, dating back to 1607. River Seine WalkWhen we visited in May, we stayed in the heart of the city and walked along the Seine every day to reach our destinations, most of which were near the river! Taking picture of The Seine RiverIt never once crossed my mind to fear the river. Tour Boat plying The Seine RiverIt was beautiful, nurturing…full of vitality and life! Road along The Seine RiverIn some ways, that reminds me of how I feel about Jesus,
who is “the way, the truth, and the life”  (John 14:6). Cars driving along The Seine RiverHowever, there’s a second half to John 14:6, and that says,
“No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Bridge across The Seine RiverThose who trust in Him can go safely to the Father in peace. Spire of Notre Dame overlooking The Seine RiverBut, God will reject those who refuse his Son, Chestnut trees along The Seine Riverand at the end of the world, there will be torrential downpour of judgment more deadly than the River Seine when it rages.
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)  

River Seine and Paris from airAnd the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)   La Seine a Herblay. Maximilien LuceAnd I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20: 11-12;15)  Boats along the River SeineThen said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him [Jesus] whom he [God] hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

(*The two photos labeled AFP images and Golf Photos are from today’s Daily Mail, June 30, 2016, found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3625100/Paris-drowning-Workers-build-makeshift-bridges-swollen-River-Seine-reach-stricken-areas-France-suffers-worst-floods-100-years-forcing-city-total-shutdown.html The rest are from our trip to France in May, 2016.)

Revisiting Youth

On our drivewayOn our roots tour, Jonathan wanted to show Gerlinde the house where we’d lived in Marquette (Michigan) for several years when he was a young boy. Dead River Falls Our home was nestled deep in the woods on 50 acres of land just overlooking the flood plain for the Dead River, and our property ended at the Dead River Falls. Autumn out our window There was something very magical about being so intimately connected to nature …even down to the foxes and bears that strolled past our windows…
(although that part was a bit scary). Playing on our pondBut, I think the wildness
—the haunting sounds of loons calling on our lake at night— Flowers and butterfly copy and the endless parade of wildflowers, made our Marquette days larger than life in our memories, and in our family lore.Driveway to our homeSo, we couldn’t resist driving in just to catch a glimpse of our home again.

Home in woodsThe man who lived there was extremely hospitable and allowed us to look inside, although he apologized for the condition of the house. They have several young kids, and it’s a big property to manage. I was deeply appreciative of his willingness to let us in, but I was (secretly) stunned by how much the house had changed in 20+ years. It made me feel very sad.  😦North WoodsConversely, the beautiful birch and maple forest carpeted in ferns seemed somehow untouched, as if in suspended animation. Only Jonathan is a man now, instead of a little boy, and it’s a joy to see him “all grown up” and thriving!  🙂Sled Run in the woodsBut, I have to say that revisiting our Marquette home made me really nostalgic. The life cycle of woodlands, if left undisturbed from human influence, seems so constant compared to the life cycle in us as humans! We are born, grow up, and die within “the twinkling of an eye”… so long looking forward …but so short looking back! May we be grateful for every day and every memory God gives us. Presque Isle Park“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God…For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night…So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:1,2,4,12)

What Do We Do With our Gifts?

IMG_1528Our quadrivium of grandchildren born in the spring of 2012 are turning two!IMG_1530 Last Saturday was Amélie’s second birthday, DSCN9916and Sunday we celebrated Iris’s second birthday. DSCN9872 Kathy and Carl went to great lengths to make everything very special for Iris. DSCN9871They invited all her Michigan aunts and uncles. DSCN9901 Even her Great Grandpa Bob was able to come,DSCN9879and her twin cousins, Sophie and Bella. DSCN9869We all had such a good time!DSCN0108Iris had a great time playing with her cousins;DSCN9918the cake was finger-lickin’ good; DSCN0051and she got to open all sorts of wonderful presents. DSCN0001Watching Iris open her presents made me think of how I respond to the presents DSCN9861God provides for me…gifts like Jesus, faith, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life.DSCN0019Sometimes I don’t really understand what they’re all about and ignore them. DSCN0068Other times I just want to keep them all for myself and don’t want to share them!DSCN9951Lots of times I’d rather just grab my gifts & run away so nobody can bother me…DSCN9952hoping I can enjoy them all by myself without any fussing or interruptions! DSCN9883There are times when even the best gifts don’t seem to suit, DSCN9884and my Father has to speak some words of truth into my life…DSCN9885sending the Holy Spirit to make things turn out right in the end. DSCN0079Well, Iris had a wonderful day and went to bed very content. DSCN0085 So did Oliver.                 And…so did I!DSCN0013 May we all remember that God’s gifts are given not only to enjoy but to share.

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ…for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:7,12).