written around October 15, 2009 at the Taize community
Last night I stayed in evening worship until the candles were extinguished by two young people. Today I arrived early to morning service in time to see the candles being lit by one young man. I was one of the first in and the last out (FILO). I also was one of the first out at the morning service.
The altar is a jumble of about a hundred leaning cement blocks with candles within. It’s hard for me not to imagine that the candles are symbolic of all of the lights within all of us at Taize and beyond. We each have a light within and we lean, round shouldered on one another.
Although I love the worship three times a day – the amazing singing (the harmonies!) and the time of silence, I must admit that monastic life may not be for me.
Taize is more like Outward Bound than a week in the French countryside. For example, you have the tight living quarters in the barracks, the ladled serving at mealtime on a plastic plate, the one utensil (a spoon), the seats on wooden benches, and the unforgiving cold.
I did discover a way out — there is a bus that cuts through the campus. Today, like several days, I snuck away from morning service and boarded the public bus for one Euro fifty cents. I took the bus until a petite ville beckoned. I hopped off and had an adventure.
I stayed at Taize and led a contemplative life. Yet, if truth be told, I also snuck away, and discovered hidden treasures in the neighboring French countryside. Both kept me going. And the memories will keep me going.