Yesterday evening was fantastic. I had thought when I’d got back to my room after Eucharist and lunch that my experience of silence might be drawing to a close. But I was wrong. The taizé service was lovely.
Fr Matthew asked me to read a passage, and it turned out to be one of my favourites. 1 John 4:7-12:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
The period of silence in between the chants and readings was lovely. Felt very peaceful, and this was a silence that was experienced completely and with others.
After the taizé I headed down to the SU Bar with Vikki and friends: Imran, Luke, Rydian, Alex. We won the quiz! After it we went back to halls and had a really good laugh.
It was turned midnight when I finally began the walk back to the guest house I was staying in (I had a front door key as well as a room key!), and Vikki walked with me. I know we’ll keep in touch.
So what I thought would be a journey into silence, solitude, sheep and sanctuary, turned out to be one of silence, solitude, sheep, sanctuary and socialising. But socialising is nowhere near a good enough word. Stepping into the role of ‘fresher’ for the night and finding people like me, my age, with a passion for study and for life, was wonderful.
Silence has taught me much. But we do certainly need a healthy balance. The kindness and welcome of my new Lampeter friends gave me far more than another evening’s reading would have (I’m not saying reading isn’t important I’m saying we need that balance, and that different things speak to us at different times). It’s been wonderful to discover that whether I end up in Durham or Lampeter, I can be happy in university life. Not just happy, but completely alive, and “free” in a new way.
As I was heading back to the guest house, Vikki said “so out of insanity and back to reality eh?” Yeah. But I’d say that the insanity of Lampeter student life was a beautiful bit of “Real-ness” that reality should have more of.