Today is my first full day in France. We are currently in Honfleur, a small town in Normandy. It’s the smallest operating port in all of Europe. I am sitting in my window on the third/second floor of our house. My left foot is sitting in the gutter so that I could have the laptop on the empty window sill in front of me. The view is gorgeous. I can see where the Seine River flows into the English Channel. With the slight breeze I can actually see the water rippling North towards England.
The buildings in the town look too perfect and old to be real. We walked past a home today that was built in 1627. In the main part of town we walked through the oldest wooden church in all France. The entire place is picqturesque in a way that I cannot put words too.
This morning a few of us attended Mass at Le Chapelle de Cote de Grace on top of hte hill. THe church is a small stone chapel that was built in 1600 to replace a church that the Duke of Normandy had built in 1023. It was quite a exerience as I hae never been to Mass before. We tried to follow along on the songs they had printed on a sheet and I think we did pretty well, all things considered. The priest is black, I had actually seen him in town yesterday wearing his collar. This morning he wore a white robe with a green mantle. H was a good speaker, I enjoyed his homily even though I could only pick out a few words!
One thing that I did hear him say several times was a word that sound like the English word “mission.” It got me t hinking about what our calling is as Christians. That’s something I’m thinking a lot about right now as I’m in a foreign country for the first time without a “missions” purpose. What does it look like to be a light to the poeple here when I can’t speak with them, and the group I’m with has incredibly different priorities than I do? Speaking of the group–I am praying to be patient with them and loving. They are great people, but we don’t share many of the same values–I was one of the lightest packers, I have no makeup, only two pairs of shoes and (gasp) almost all my clothes fit on four measely hangers! The other girls pretty much all brought two suitcases, and are much more fashionable than myself. That’s always been a hard thing for me–getting along with people who place so much value, time and effort on their looks. What does it mean to love the people with me, enjoy their company and yet be different in a way that is both obvious to them and maybe even the French people around us? What does it mean to live as a Christian when I barely got into a theological discussion earlier before being sick of it? (I find it difficult to talk about God with many people these days as I am still sorting out some of my own thoughts)
I think, as cheesey as it may sound, I just have to “act” differently. I gave up my spot in the shower line this morning–maybe that is a good start. I won’tt drink like everyone else (and take care of them when they come home ddrunk)–I think that’s a another good thing to do. And I jumped all over my KP duty today without being told. Maybe small things like that are the right place to start.
“My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.” -Psalm 35.28