Tuesday, October 09, 2012

One Time In France

I had frost on my car this morning. Brrr! Driving to work I was reminded of another cold morning. In 2005 I had the opportunity to go to France. I visited a small town called Clairvaux. This city is famous because of a famous 12th century monk and theologian named Bernard of Clairvaux. I was there for a religious conference of monks, nuns, and lay people. Although it was early June the mornings were very cool. As I have mentioned before, monks get up in the middle of the night to prayer what are called Vigils. It was no different on this trip. I was staying in a small village a few miles away that was surrounded by vineyards. Every day that I was in France I drank the fruit of the vine.  However, I digress.  My companions and I got up, drove to Clairvaux, and joined others for Vigils. The chapel was very old and had no heat. I sat there shivering while a monk sang the prayers in French. I love the sound of the French language. After the prayers were over we went to a small room under the chapel. Inside the room was a stone fireplace with a blazing fire. Breakfast was waiting for us. Sitting next to the fire the hot coffee and bread seemed like a great feast. I was totally in the moment. Everything about the experience came together to create a perfect moment. I was warmed by the fire, the coffee and bread satisfied my thirst and hunger, and my mind and heart were blown away because I was doing all of this in France. As I sit here typing these notes I am back in that moment. Let me leave you with a Zen koan. Is all bread in France considered French bread?

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