Stressville and Moi

Moi? I live in Stressville. Our lives read like a novel, which is nice since I’m writing one right now. All this suspenseful living, if I employ it, will make for a page-turner.

Monday, I asked people to pray that Patrick’s airline tickets would hurry up and come.

“Have the tickets arrived?” Patrick asked when I came in from the mailbox yesterday.

“No, but there’s this letter, addressed to Patrice.” I feel Patrick’s stress right then. He leaves in less than two days. If he doesn’t get that ticket, we’ll have to buy a new one, cancel the other and spend a whole bucketload of money.

Patrick winced. He’s no Patrice.

In the letter for Patrice we learn our ticket landed in France over ten days ago, but they couldn’t deliver it to us because the address (they said) was written incorrectly (on closer inspection, it was not). We called Chronopost, which, ironically, means TIME post. As in ON TIME. They say they’ll deliver it. Patrick said “No, that’s OK, I’ll come and get it.”

He drove to the airport and picked up the parcel. To torture me, he called and said, “Well, er, do you want the good news or the bad news?”

Me, having been recently crowned Mrs. Pessimist of the Year, said, “the bad news, naturally.”

“There isn’t any,” he said. “We got the tickets!”

When he came home I did a little happy dance. Victory! Tickets! Yahoo! What else could go wrong?

Plenty.

That night, I noticed our Cartes de Sejours (what lets us stay here in France) run out just as Patrick comes back from the states, which means we had to travel to the Prefecture this morning. We had a lovely, seemingly foolproof system for getting in line. We waited in this indoor waiting area and walk to the front of the line. (A professional who helps people get their papers told us this tip). Well, of course, today a Gendarme asks us if we work there. We say no. He points us outside (in the bucketing rain) where there is a mob-like line pressed against the glass. We leave and stand in line.

I guess we all have to go through the feeling of being crushed once in our lives. I never really felt that way, not having gone to many rock concerts as a young adult. But this morning, as folks crowded and cut in line, I was pressed. Into the wall. Into this lovely gray-haired lady who I was trying to protect. As the doors opened, Patrick squeezed through and walked briskly to the next line. Thankfully, whew, we got our Cartes de Sejours in just twenty minutes.

Yesterday, Patrick spent some time editing a prospectus he created for our church plant, a dossier that Patrick will share with churches where we are in the process. (He’ll be two weeks in the Dallas area doing this sort of thing). I told him I’d print it off today. But, alas and alack, the document was seized by Satan who, in his mischievous, malevolent way, did not allow all those changes to be saved. So, Patrick will have to re-edit.

And!

We now (thanks to Justin and Jen Powell, cutest little church planters in Paris) have a DVD of Crossroads Cote D’Azur! Patrick will use this too as he presents what we’re doing in Southern France to scads of folks. It was overnighted (thanks, Justin) on Monday but it isn’t here today (and Patrick leaves tomorrow before the mail arrives).

We did a little checking, and guess what?

Yes. Chronopost does it AGAIN! I firmly believe Satan has planted several minions in that postal company, their sulfurous orifices (shameless reference to This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti) drooling green goo on our DVDs. According to the evil website, once again they say our address does not exist. (Not true. I know. I live here.)

So.

I call the nice folks at Chronopost in Nice, but, yes, they are on break. From 12:00 to 2:30. So I can’t call. I call their French all-over-the-country number, but am told that I’ll be charged beaucoup de centimes per minute.

As of now, this is yet to be resolved. Patrick is on his way to the airport to retrieve our DVDs (I hope).

I know I shouldn’t let this stuff stress me out. I know I should expect things like this especially as Patrick goes back to the states to raise funds for our church and connect well with folks. Spiritual warfare does exist–often in the form of little antagonizing moments strung together like a beaded necklace.

I need to get back to my novel. I’ll use some of this stress as I write, to create angst and stress for my poor little characters. I’ll mess with their worlds, foil them at every turn, vex them to no end. Mwaaaaaa hhhaaaa hhhhaaaaa.

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