The trash can next to my desk shows some famous sites of Paris -- the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe. My son has asked me about them, and I’ve identified them for him. I’ve told him how we rode an elevator up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. And I told him that his Daddy and I actually walked up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
That was during the spring of 2005. On one of our overly-filled days, we explored the Louvre, strolled down the Champs-Elysees, and arrived at the Arc de Triomphe. Truthfully, we didn’t plan on climbing to the top. We thought there was an elevator that would take us to the top for our panoramic view. We were wrong.
Before the climb
I found the journal I kept during that trip and re-read what I wrote regarding that particular adventure:
We stood across the street from the Arc, under it, admiring the details. Saw flowers and the flame burning for the Unknown Soldier. We decided we wanted to go to the top. Little did we know that meant climbing more than 200 stairs up a circular staircase and then those same 200+ stairs back down. I was huffing and puffing and had to use my inhaler.
The view was incredible.
Re-reading that passage serves as a good reminder to me. Certain things are just plain difficult, and exhausting, and challenging regardless of my current medical condition. And certain things are absolutely worth the pain and fatigue that occur afterwards.
After the climb
We were thoroughly exhausted afterwards, but we did it. And the next time I’m in Paris, I’d do it again. Opportunities to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe don’t present themselves every day. And life is all about recognizing those opportunities and seizing them.
Although, if there’s an elevator available, you’ll find me on it. After all, the view at the top will be the same regardless of how I arrived there.