taizé, october 2016

Taizé is a small village in the Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France, approximately eight hours by car from where I live. In 1940, frère Roger first came to this village and decided that this was the place where he needed to be. His intention was to start a small ecumenical community of brothers, but it turned out that during his life this community would continue to grow. Continuing to push the community’s boundries. In the present day, each year about 100.000 visitors come to Taizé to live with the brothers for a week, most of them between 18 and 35 years of age. What I like best about this community is the melting pot of cultures and varieties of Christianity, and the fact that whenever I’m there I can just be. I don’t have to think about what to do, where to go, what to eat. The days go by in a sort of flow: you wake up, get dressed, go to church, have breakfast, go to work or bible study, go to church, have lunch, go to song practice or have some free time, go to work or bible study (depending on what you did in the morning), have some free time, have dinner, and end the day in church. This may sound like a heavy schedule but it really isn’t.

Last October I only had time to go to Taizé for a couple of days, and although I prefer to stay for a week, these couple of days were better than not going at all. I needed some time to just be, reflect on my life at home, and see the by now familiar faces of the brothers again. And I wanted to experience the community again while I was not researching it, for the last couple of times I was there I was working on my bachelor thesis on why this community attracts so many young people. One question that kept popping up during the time I was there, concerned the possibility to speak to one of the brothers after the evening prayer. To me it always seemed a bit similar to a meet and greet with an artist: what would you say to them? The reason why I don’t feel the need to go to meet and greets, and why I had never spoken to a brother after prayer. So on Saturday evening, after the vigil of lights, where the resurrection is celebrated, I was contemplating this question. What would you go ask a brother? And then I realized it might as well be anything that keeps your mind occupied.

That evening I went to speak to a brother about a question I couldn’t get a grip on: how do you know something is right? Sometimes I know I have to do something, that that is the right path for me, but often I don’t know how I know that. So that’s what I spoke to a brother about. And to be honest, his answer didn’t really surprise me: it is enough to trust. And to go. Although you cannot see where you are going yet. It doesn’t matter that you cannot find the words for it now, but you can try. And maybe one day, in a year, in five years, or even sixty years, you hear a word, a sentence, or a song, and you think: that is exactly what I mean.

So I’m going into this new year, trusting that the path I’m on is the right one for me. Even though I don’t know where it will take me. Let’s see in sixty years.

 

bridge over the pond in source st etienne at taize

girl reading underneath a tree at taizé

staircase in the woods

waiting for dinner at taizé

bell tower taizé

church taizé

waiting for dinner at taizé

waiting for dinner at taizé

point five tea at taizé

village churge ameugny france

taize.fr

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