Last night I was only a ten minute walk away from my family and yet didn’t feel safe walking home. Sirens blaring, streets deserted and news pouring in of more and more victims and shootings. I was at our student Bible study for the first time this year. Normally, Dave is the one that goes but this week we decided I’d go.
I was just gathering up my things to start walking about around 9:50 P.M. when one of my teammates got a text asking if she was ok from her dad in California. (It’s always like that- we get news of what’s going on in France from family and friends texting from the U.S. Crazy how it all works these days…). We turned on the news, I called Dave and those of us at the Bible study made a plan for what each of us would do. Some were staying the night at Beth and Haley’s (where the Bible study was), another had to start making his one hour journey home because of commitments this morning and I didn’t know what to do. My baby, only 5 months old, still nurses every three hours and it was already amazing she hadn’t woken up while I was gone. Dave and I decided to have me sit it out a bit and see if they caught the gunmen or if there were more shootings. The shootings got closer and closer to our neighborhood as the night went on, so we wanted to make sure that trend didn’t continue. The last one was a good 20 minute bike ride from our place.
There were seven women left at the Bible study- we were glued to our phones and BFMTV for updates. We prayed for those traveling home and waited for news from our family, friends and teammates. Around 1 A.M. Dave knew he had to make something happen when he rummaged through the cupboards and freezer and realized there was no formula or breastmilk for Chloe. He had the great idea to text our neighbor and see if she could come down and stay with the sleeping kids while he drove to pick me and my friend Karen up from the Bible study. It was a go.
He pulled up in front of Beth and Haley’s apartment building, we hopped in – me sitting on the floor because the carseats were taking up the seats— and we drove home. People were driving through red lights because the streets were deserted and the police had better things to do than stop us. The roads were blocked just beyond our house- much like they were in January, I imagine, during the Jewish supermarket hostage situation. We quickly parked at home and went up to our apartment. Laura, our neighbor, greeted me with tears in her eyes. She’s a mom, too.
I was never so relieved to respond to my baby’s cry last night. And never so happy to hear my two year old cry out “Mama” because he couldn’t find his blanket in the night. Paris is our home and last night our home suffered tragically. I can only imagine those who didn’t make it home last night to their kids. I don’t want to think of those who are “still waiting” for news from their loved ones. Please pray for peace for those who witnessed the crimes, for their families and for the Parisian authorities to have wisdom. Would you also pray for our family? Dave is leaving on Monday to teach at a European leaders’ event with our job. It’s only a two and a half day trip but it could seem long in this uncertain time.