Monday, July 23

Monday at L'Abri

The following set of posts are, more or less, what I experienced in the last week at L'Abri.  I had started this series of posts for the week Jim broke his ankle, so I've meshed some things together.  My intent is to give you a picture of life at this place and the ministry that is going on here.  That said, this place simply can't be explained by schedules or by the questions that are raised.  It is very intentionally not run on a curriculum or built for work efficiency, but instead is built around hospitality and the relationships that form.   But, as L'Abri is about formation and not information, the rhythm of life here does play a large part in shaping the community and individuals.  So, I give you a week at L'Abri.


It's Monday morning at L'Abri.  I wake up, the night was rough with little ones out of bed so I lay there for awhile.  The Little Mr.'s slowly wake up around me (Isaac is between us in bed, Rowan has a bed on the floor beside me that he ends up in half the time).  Jonah enters with a book and crams himself between Jim and Isaac.  Rowan crawls in and I'm literally holding him onto the small double bed.  "We need a bigger bed" I say.   "Mm-Hmm" Jim drowsily agrees.  Soon Isaac is fussy, he's a boy that likes to get going.  And the day begins.  Diapers, breakfast, clothes... you know the drill.

Bellevue - the largest chalet where the all of the students live
Monday is the day of prayer at L'Abri and Jim heads over to lounge in Bellevue for the Monday prayer meeting.  The meeting always begins with one of the workers reading a chapter of a book aloud.  We've heard a lot of Philip Yancey this term.  This is followed by the sharing of prayer requests and prayer. 

Jim arrives home around 10:15 and Isaac is napping.  The older boys are happily playing with Legos (they are LOVING Legos these days!)   He tells me the prayer requests that he remembers others sharing.  There are requests for friends, family members and for the ministry and finances of L'Abri (the ministry is struggling, like so many non-profits right now and they don't fundraise as the ministry has a tradition of being "prayer based"*). 

All the students sign up for a slot on Monday when they pray for half an hour.  Jim signed me up for 10:30, so I head outside with a blanket, my jounal and my newly awoken babe.  We sit and he plays while I pray.  I keep looking at the mountains; Psalm 121 is running through my head, it has been a bit of a mantra since we've been here.  Sometimes on Monday the older boys join me for my prayer time, I always invite them, but today Rowan is busy digging and Jonah is engrossed reading The Hobbit; they have declined and I enjoy the quiet. 

Before I know it, the half hour is up and I head to the kitchen to set out bread.  Jim stops working on his lecture to feed the baby and in the next hour I bake bread, we all eat lunch (in a scattered manner), and the little boys go down for a nap.  Jim and I share our mid-day coffee, which has become somewhat of a daily ritual since he broke his ankle.  

I tidy the house and leave for my weekly grocery shop.  A student is arriving to help with the boys while I am gone (Jim can't carry the baby, so he can't keep them all).  I head down the mountain with one of the workers in the Bellevue car to the larger towns and shops.  

When I arrive home I hurry to put groceries away and then one of the workers arrives for our tutorial (typically we would go to his home, but Jim can't manage to get there at the moment).  Tutorial is a time to talk about what we've been reading or thinking about.  Jim worked through a fair amount of Francis Schaeffer's work this summer and I've been enjoying several books, most recently Desiring the Kingdom by James K. A. Smith.  Each student has a tutorial once a week.  Jim and I have been taking turns with the tutorial, but, because the boys are cared for, we have tutorial together this week.  We end up talking about the prayer base of L'Abri for much of the time.  

Our tutorial goes late and we rush to dinner at Bellevue.  The students share a meal of hand fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, creamed corn and a green salad (the food here is yummy.)  The boys play 'mini-monster' and ping-pong with some students after being excused.  After dinner and conversations, Jim and the older boys head back to the house for bed while Isaac and I sit and talk with some friends.  I head home a bit later than I meant to and Jim and I have tea and a quick chat before bed.  There are always so many questions flying around this place that we are always full of thoughts to toss back and forth.  And lastly, we head to bed, which is always welcome at the end of quiet, but busy days at L'Abri.

Jim wrote a more general piece on L'Abri on Transpositions today.  It might help fill out a picture of this place as well.   But, but to be honest the best way to understand L'Abri is to visit.  You can see the locations of L'Abri around the world here.

* To learn more about the prayer base of L'Abri it is best to read L'Abri by Edith Schaeffer.  If you are interested in making a tax-deductable gift to L'Abri you can here on their website.


Laura Wingard-Plank said...

Sounds like such a happy life! I so miss days of research, study, and collaborative thinking--I wish I could be a full-time university student forever! or at least attend a good book club. Are you and Jim interested in each picking a book you love and us all having a "book club" when you come to Kittanning? We can take turns on everyone's pick for a book, sort of like we did years ago in a long-distance way. I'm thinking that you will need a little something just to adjust to "real life" after such a deeply contemplative lifestyle. Let me know what your book picks are if you are interested. :)

Watkins said...

I'd love to read stuff together. Let me think about what... Let us know what your picks are too!

Laura Wingard-Plank said...

Great! I'll think, too!