Sunday, June 10, 2007

L'abri: Utopia or Reality?

My beautiful little Brazilian neighbor, Helena, running from the camera:

Although a gift, L’abri is a difficult place to be—especially as it is easy to idealize it, to turn it into a utopia, after leaving here and upon anticipating a return. Then on returning, you once again remember how scary and beautiful it is to attempt and face reality in this environment. L’abri itself is an effort to distinguish between reality and our many illuisions—and that makes it quite terrifying. My first week was very hard—I asked myself over and over again if I had made the right decision in coming back and committing a whole summer (which could be used to work and search for a job for Fall) to be here. This past Friday, it all finally clicked, wonderfully, graciously, delicately and fully—and I began to remember what L’abri is really about---learning to live as one fully human, learning to drink in the fullness of life (life in God, life that is fragile and made more real through both beauty and pain). I know I am meant to be here for now, even though I am spending time having very difficult conversations, thinking over difficult issues—but the fullness of life here is undeniable and irresistible. It is already changing me.

Pascal’s comments (in previous post) about the fear of living in the present moment relate very much to the scariness of L’abri. In the moment is reality, in the moment we meet God—this is both irresistible and very frightening. Although I have many other things back home I need to be thinking about (a job!), I want to make the effort to live here, now, in this present beautiful, sometimes scary, moment. In this effort, I have even made a decision to return the mobile phone I bought to use this summer—I want to focus on being HERE rather than always trying to reach those outside (ironic, I know, as I write a blog post!).
Two Swedish action figures (Stefan and Lois) building a little greenhouse behind the Manor House:

Helena again:

Anita from Mexico, Andrew Fellows (L'abri Worker) and Esther from Hollnd during a tea break:

4 comments:

Jonathan Krueger said...

I love the picture with Lois and Stefan!

Josiah said...

neither, it's b.s.

Mary said...

Josiah,
1) Who are you?
2) Would you care to elaborate on your complete dismissal of L'abri?

jen said...

Hi Mary!
Hope all is well... Just wanted to drop you a line. I truly truly know the beauty and darkness that colors a L'Abri experience... learning so much, seeing yourself so differently, getting addicted to that personal upheaval and the toll that it can all can take also.

I hope that as the days pass in that pretty countryside, you still muster up the energy to engage... yourself and others, even when its hard and you probably just want to find a quiet spot. such a daily battle for me...here or there.

i love reading about your adventures... brings back wonderful memories... thanks!