My wife and I left Los Angeles International Airport on October 12, 2022, and returned October 31. During this period, we watched no television, read no newspapers or magazines, and lost all cognizance of worldly news. This abstinence was a first for this news junky. During this timeout, I felt that I stood taller (I’m shrinking). I know I smiled more because at times my face muscles were sore from smiling. I felt lighter on my feet. I had a much more positive outlook on life.
On our first day in Paris, we went to the Musée d’Orsay, a treasure house of impressionist art, our favorite. Those artists were so creative, painting outdoors and capturing the colors of nature and life. They were not afraid to break out of the mold and try new things. Impressionists have always given me permission to try the new.
The d’Orsay building was a beautiful train station from 1900 to 1938, serving trains from southeast France. The building was transformed into this unique museum in 1986.
On another day, Annie and I went to the newly renovated Picasso Museum. Pablo’s mind and art have always fascinated me. One time he took an old bicycle seat, attached a bike handlebar to the top, and voilà, made an extraordinary artwork of a bull’s head. Picasso’s ability to turn junk into art reminds me of Jesus making extraordinary wine out of water, a metaphor about how living an agape life can change ordinary lives into extraordinary ones (John 2:1–11).
The next day we visited the newly renovated Salvador Dalí Museum in the Montmartre district of Paris. Dalí’s complex mind has given me permission to think way outside the box, especially about the future of the institutional church.
We then took the train to Amsterdam, where we stayed for four days before we got on a cruise ship for our seven-day excursion down the Rhine. Our first day in the city, we went to the Van Gogh Museum (one of our favorite artists), and another day we enjoyed the Rijksmuseum for five hours. As an adult, art has been an important part of my life because it seems to tickle my creative fancy.
The Viking cruise line spoiled us. We had a wonderful time meeting people from all over as well as seeing some beautiful Dutch, German, French, and Swiss scenery. One day the ship docked in Strasbourg, where Annie and I lived while I was working on my doctorate sixty years ago, which brought back so many wonderful memories.
We know we are spoiled privileged white people, but this trip reminded us that the world in which we live isn’t as nasty as the media makes it—especially if one ignores the media altogether.
We are home, and today I feel less smiley, not so light, more stooped over, and negative. I read the Los Angeles Times.
When I become president, I’m going to issue an executive order: one day a week there will be absolutely no media so all of us can enjoy the present moment.
Would you vote for me?
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo courtesy of Nono vlf (CC 4.0)