Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back in the Alps

I’m enjoying my life at L’Abri as a helper. It’s different from last term, of course, but in many ways, life here is the same – a thing in which I find great comfort. I miss all the study time I had as a student. I am very grateful for the two study afternoons I get (usually helpers only get one, but there are seven of us which allows us one more), and I sometimes study on my own in the evenings, but it’s important to me that there is a balance of work and play in my life, so I aim to be disciplined in both parts. Many of the things I began last term I am continuing in this term. I’m still focusing on the spiritual disciplines: narrowing, defining, tinkering, practicing. I’m still working on exegesis: this time, Romans! I’m still developing the relationships that became so precious to me, still enjoying the pace of L’Abri life, still feasting on formal lunches and lectures, Scrabble and chess. The mountains are still INCREDABLE; I never cease to look about myself in wonder. It hasn’t gotten horribly cold yet, but you know, it isn’t warm either. Uncertainty about the extent of my season here continues to plague me, sometimes with doubt and fear, but on better days with a compulsion to rest in the Lord’s sweet kindness, grace, faithfulness, and love. And on the days of fear and doubt, when the Alps look to me cold and insurmountable, I have trusted friends both here and away walking alongside of me, listening, comforting, talking sense into me… Indeed it is true; all good gifts come from the Father.

A look at my week-to-week routine: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings I get to work on editing Greg’s book on Revelation. I really enjoy this. Greg is always kind and treats Erin and I (who is editing with me) as valuable colleges as we meet together discussing various suggestions and comments each of us may have. Monday afternoons I work in Farel House (the chapel and library). It is a high-traffic area and needs quite a bit of attention, from cleaning the bathrooms and floors, to washing dishes, to reshelving books, watering plants, and sweeping the outside. Tuesday afternoon is a study period, during which Jasie and I meet for my tutorials, which are going well and continue to be an instrumental part of my time here. Wednesday afternoon I get to cook dinner at Malezes (on Wednesdays we split between two of the workers’ chalets, Malezes and Chesalet – think French thoughts to pronounce those names). Thursday is our day off. Friday morning I help make lunch again at Malezes and I have the afternoon to study – I just finished Providence & Prayer and am looking forward to diving into Romans. Saturday is my longest day: I get up early to help prepare for breakfast, then after breakfast I head down to Chesalet to help make lunch. Saturday afternoon is when it really gets long because I’m at Farel again, but Saturdays require more attention than Mondays because there is a lot to do to make it look pristine for chapel on Sunday. (Plus you know, it’s the end of the week and everyone is tired so people are sometimes less thoughtful about picking up after themselves than earlier in the week.) I always come in for dinner pretty wiped out, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion, the, ‘I feel really good about all I’ve accomplished’ kind. Hopefully that sense lasts. Finally after dinner I’m on night office, which means I’m responsible for answering the phone and greeting new-comers, helping them to their rooms, etc. (I will probably switch my night office from Saturday to Friday, but that’s not official yet.) Sunday is chapel and I’m responsible for preparing and serving tea and coffee. I get to chapel early and set up, then I do a quick sweep to make sure things look nice, and after the service I serve tea and coffee for a while. It’s a fun job because I get to meet the people who come from town.

As you can see, it’s a lot of work. But I’m settling into my role with relative ease and am enjoying it. If I didn’t mention something you’re wondering about, leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to know and I’ll be happy to oblige.