Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Often in the past, I used to get a very strong auditory hallucination of church bells.  It happened when life was particularly rough and it was a particularly comforting thing.  I love bells.  I'm sure you can tell the nationality of a bell from its ring.  Each foundry will use a specific alloy and each foundry will have a particular shaped bell.  I convinced myself that the bells I was hallucinating were French and monastic.  They were very different from the bells I could occasionally hear from the neighbouring village. All that stopped, and I'm fairly sure I know why it stopped.  That phase of my life was over, I was no longer staring into the abyss, constantly mindful of a reckless soul who was blithely endangering his life. In prayer, I was given about as strong a signal as possible that we would no longer be linked souls.  I was to move on. He no longer needed me to pray that intensely for him. Just perhaps those bells were a sign of the prayers for me from a monastic community that loved him very much..... But loving does involve knowing when to hold and when to let go.  I am not sentimental. I don't care about him any more, it is a matter of trusting God, and that is done with joy and thanks. If I cared, I'd ruin his life by interfering with it.

I now have the sound of a real bell entering the windows of  my apartment, and a Catholic one at that! This is a rare thing in such an Orthodox country.  It has a beautiful sound.  Orthodox bells are lovely too, but I feel an affinity with the Catholic bell! The bell tower has battled communism and it has survived earthquakes, modernism , post-modernism and liturgical rupture. I can time my saying of Vespers to when the bell rings and there is a simple joy in saying the old rite Latin Vespers with it tolling in the background.  This is what it means to me to be a Catholic out here. I attend the Sacraments at various Catholic churches but it is those bits of the Office that I have time to say that have become as special for me as the Old Rite was back in the UK. Something special happens in the mundane act of this middle aged woman reading Latin badly and praying distractedly......  This is a blessed state, one that won't last, but I'm here and this is my life and God will do with it as He pleases.

I'm glad I have a real bell and not an hallucination.  There is another linked soul and has been for some time now, but there is no abyss and no agony just simplicity and peace.  As the bell rings out indiscriminately on all my neighbours (more Orthodox and Jewish than Catholic), I know the surety in the link to that other, though there isn't an earthly sign of its existence and may never be. I don't care. I am not sentimental.

A "normal" relationship would be nice, I'm sure I'm capable romance (there is a glorious pun in that word out here). God has promised me I'll re-marry, but I'll leave Our Lady and Mother to make all the introductions when She sees fit.

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