Changing Barracks

I am sensitive. I am a light sleeper.

Because of the snoring, that first night at Taize, I did not get more than one or two hours of sleep. At three in the morning, I sat outside under a bare lightbulb. I was cold on that concrete step. It was raining lightly. I read the book, “Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close.”

I never want to cause any waves or ruffle any feathers so when I had to go to La Morada to ask if I could be moved from my barrack, I felt bad. (Yes, the Taize bunk bed rooms are called barracks.)

But the barrack the gentle novitiate moved me to already had its six beds (three bunk beds) full. (“I will have to ask one of the sisters to investigate,” he said.)

The only barrack left for me was with the four women on the silent retreat week.

“I promise I will not speak to them,” I said.

“And they certainly will not speak to you,” the brother said.

“Let’s hope they are as quiet in the night as they are in the day,” I joked. He smiled, unapologetically, raised his eyebrows, as if he could not guarantee.

The women were quiet and peaceful. After my first dark night of the soul at Taize, I got many good nights sleep on the top bunk in the quiet room with the women (mostly German, I figured) who were on silent retreat.

They were incredibly quiet and extremely close.