In October 2009 just after completing my archaeology Masters coursework and right before headed back to the states, I retreated to Taize– a special spiritual center nestled in the Burgundy region of France. Sometimes I have trouble believing I was actually there. Looking back on the solo journey from Bristol to Paris where I boarded a train at the Gare du Nord then got off at a small station in the middle of the countryside where I was just hoping a bus that would take me Taize would show up, I am amazed I had the courage to take so many risks and just trust that everything would work out.
At Taize, the day is broken into periods of rest, prayer, work, and table fellowship. Prayer happens corporately three times a day and is characterized by silence and song. The unique music of Taize (sparsely accompanied, simple chanting) is what initially drew me to explore the prospect of retreating there. It’s simplicity provides a spiritual connection that I find myself falling back into at the most random times.
Tonight as I am laying down to rest, this chant adapted from a prayer of St. Teresa of Avila drifted into my mind.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante;
todo se pasa, Dios no se muda.
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing distress you;
While all things fade away, God is unchanging.
I’ve felt distressed over the last few days– not by anything super serious, but just by the everyday struggles of adjusting to a new life phase in which I’m/we’re no longer students. Learning to adapt to new routines, schedules, and budgets as well as the continuing search for a job is overwhelming. Add to the mix that my little sisters just turned 25 and I am now less than a month away from a big birthday myself (the big 3-0), I feel a bit like the world is spinning and I’m trying to keep up. Yet God’s love/presence/grace in my life is steadfast and ultimately I know having the courage to trust that all will be well is what I am called to.
Tonight this chant feels like a place to rest for a while.