61: Miracles in Paris

61: Miracles in Paris

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Miracles in Paris

The universe has no restrictions. You place restrictions on the universe with your expectations.

~Author Unknown

I firmly believe nothing gives God a greater chuckle than our shock and delight at receiving the gift of a miracle when we least expect it. In my case, it arrived even after I’d completely given up on my wish coming true.

My firsthand experience of the Divine’s comedy skills took place at the end of May 2012. I had decided the month before to travel to Paris and all the pieces of my plan were falling easily and quickly into place. Flight booked? Check. Business class, no less! See some tennis at the French Open? Check. My friend had a spare ticket for the quarterfinals. Place to stay? Well, this was where it got interesting.

You see, I have a stubborn tendency to get stuck on an idea. I mean arms-crossed-feet-planted-face-pouting-I’m-not-budging stuck. This time around, I had developed a fierce determination to stay in an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower. How the seed of this idea came to be planted, I couldn’t say. But once those roots took hold, there was no steering me off course.

Another friend had suggested renting an apartment instead of a regular hotel room. I’d have more space and amenities, and it might even be cheaper. Plus, I’d get to live more like a real Parisian. Sounded simple and perfect. How hard could it be to find one with an Eiffel Tower view? Easy peasy, right? Ha, ha, ha!

I proceeded to lose sleep over it for the next two weeks, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to scour properties and make inquiries. One request after another was met with the same response, “Sorry, we’re booked.” Ten days before I was to fly out, I had nowhere to stay.

Eventually, I settled on a small apartment that, while far from ideal in location, space, and price, became my final and, I figured, only option. And it did have my view, if not a great one. A five-page contract appeared in my inbox to seal the deal.

But I couldn’t bring myself to sign it; I sat on it for hours. I don’t often experience bells and whistles going off within my head, but every fiber of my being seemed to scream, “Don’t do it!”

Thankfully, I listened. And in that moment I finally got unstuck and let go of the Eiffel Tower. With a deep sigh, I rebooted and started my search from scratch. I still wanted a room with a view, but this time I decided it simply had to be something distinctly Parisian. That opened up a slew of new choices.

One woman I contacted thoughtfully passed my name along to some people she knew who also rented apartments. Within hours, I received a link to a space they had available.

It was gorgeous. Newly renovated, it was two floors connected by a spiral staircase. The appliances were brand-new, but the décor had an artisan antique flair. There was closet space to spare, skylights in the ceiling, a large flat-screen television perched atop counters both upstairs and downstairs, and two plush, white bathrobes awaiting my use. I felt like royalty. It was first-class all the way, and I would be the first to stay there.

And the view? A door off the bedroom on the second floor opened up to a tiny terrace with a table and chairs from which I gazed upon the grandeur of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral.

To top it off, it was only three blocks away from where my friend lived. The owners were wonderfully friendly and gave me a great deal for nine nights, all in a simple, one-page contract.

I wouldn’t have found this apartment on my own. It wasn’t listed on any of the sites I was using. It was only because I finally let go and opened up to another possibility that it literally fell into my lap. I knew I’d had a heavy dose of heavenly help.

But God wasn’t done getting the last laugh yet.

One late evening, a couple of days into my stay, I was soaking in the bath watching a movie when a twinkling in the distance caught my eye. Slowly turning my head, I realized I was staring at none other than the Eiffel Tower’s nightly light show.

My jaw hit the floor. I had looked out that window several times since my arrival and somehow had completely overlooked the famous frame of one of the most iconic landmarks in the world on the horizon.

“You’re hilarious,” I said aloud, shaking my head in wonder. For the remainder of my stay, I would bask in the dazzling glow of the tower’s light show before bed, and grin from ear to ear.

There is a line in A Course in Miracles that says, “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.” I hadn’t even asked for divine guidance, but my hopes were heard, my heart was led, and my wish was granted in truly transcendental form.

Today, any time I need a reminder to “let go and let God,” I think of the Eiffel Tower. I still fail regularly at the letting go part, but when I find myself once again stubbornly stuck, I picture those shimmering lights, imagine a gentle nudge in the ribs, and let another who knows better take the wheel. And when those unexpected miracles occur, I can only say, “Very funny; you got me again, God!”

I swear I can sometimes hear a celestial chuckling.

~Danielle Lescure

More stories from our partners