Taizé: Spiritual Pilgrimmage? Or Youth Camp?

05.05.09

One word: Overwhelming.

So many thoughts, I don’t know where to begin.  Right now, I am tired, sore, sick to my stomach, sick to my heart, and unsure about so much.

This is not like traveling.  This is like camp.

Now, I like camp, but this…?  This is like camp, on Mars.  Beautiful, yes, but so strange, so foreign, so other.  Suddenly, I am being expected to think about my soul, and whenever that expectation is upon me, it’s the last thing I want to do.

I don’t know what to think of Taizé.  I can’t say that I don’t like it, but as of now, I can’t say that I do.  Yesterday, I had absolutely no time to journal.  Today, I have not had time even to brush my teeth.  It’s hardly the quiet and soul-quenching space that I was hoping.  At least, not yet.

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Right now, I am standing in the meditation garden, the Source.  My job is to be the silence-keeper over this space.  I do not really like it; I am not very good at it.  Teenagers keep coming down here to talk and laugh and get away from their adult supervisors.  And I have to tiptoe over to them and request that they be quiet.  So far, I have walked away twice with the strong suspicion that the teens are immediately launching into some jokes at my expense (and in a language I cannot understand!).  I’m fine with being made fun of by teenagers; I just wish I knew how to communicate more effectively with them!

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Still, it is a beautiful place.  I have watched French ducks eat lunch for two consecutive mornings.  What could be more simple and transcendental than that?

But, it is damp and cold here, and I am increasingly feeling like I might be allergic to this region of France.  But, I am trying to hold it together.  Lord knows, I am trying.

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Some initial observations about Taizé:

-Things are not nearly as self-explanatory as I thought they would be.

-Songs are difficult to pick up right away and are not repeated nearly as much as I thought.

-The silence during our prayer times is not as long or as silent as I thought it would be (people shifting and coughing and sneezing tends to make a lot of noise).

-Without a worship leader, I find it difficult to know what to do or where to look.

-I am much more self-conscious than I hoped I would be.

-Most of the time, I am utterly exhausted.  And hungry.  So, spiritual pilgrimmage?  To be determined.

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