I'm back from the land of the long lunch and dismal apples. I have to say it is quite nice to be back to my coffee and garlic free cuisine, but there is so much I miss from my stay with the sisters.
I miss having a bedroon 4m from the Blessed Sacrament, I miss the sung Office, I miss the good company, I miss my evening walks saying the rosary as the sun sets, I miss my devotional reading and note taking (it is so much harder to do when everything else crowds in). I knew it would only be for a short time and I knew I'd miss these things when I returned to Wessex, this just makes them all the sweeter; a real rest with God.
Before I went out, I thought I'd get organised and buy myself an adaptor for the 2-pin French plugs, this would enable me to charge my phone, charge the batteries for my camera and use my hairdryer. Well, on opening said adapter in France, the small print with the "instructions" said that it may not work on older French sockets. Too right! I was nearly filled with indignation. My camera batteres were flat, I hadn't had time to charge them up before I went, my phone was in a similar state and I do need to wash and dry my hair every 6 days or so....
I willed myself not to get irritated and just to accept that I would have no pictures of my stay and only select contact with the outside world by text. Hair drying was a challenge, but no worse than the challenge I faced (which incidentally made me feel very British) about just how do you keep yourself clean for 10 days with only a bidet and a bucket.
"Not getting irritated" starts to take on a spiritual dimension, it calms the heart, it prevents frustration that my spoken French is so lousy and means that communication is done generously, with love and with very few words. All this means that even the little things become time with God and "time with God" itself takes on a transcendent quality (as it realy ought to); something stored up for eternity that can never be taken away from you, unlike photographs, phone calls and the taste of strong black coffee.