This Week, I’ve Learned

One of my hopes for life is to keep learning forever.   This week of continuing to grow up seems like an appropriate time to celebrate that I’m learning more now than ever.  Here are a few lessons, some serious and other less so, from this week.

This Week, I’ve Learned:

  1. Recycling is financially profitable in Kandern. Returning a bottle to the bottle machine in the store earns me a cool €0.25 refund.  A bottle of mineral water costs only €0.19.  Hmm.
  2. Sometimes reading requires company. As children we ask our parents to stay in the bedroom until we fall asleep, sure that their presence will intimidate whatever shadows are haunting us.  Teenagers sometimes need the same kind of company, someone willing to sit with them, just with them, while they wade through the mire of words and settings on the edge of their comfort zones.  As the advisor of a seventh-hour study hall, I find myself providing this company, reading with students and chasing the shadows away, hoping that one day they’ll forget what made them so afraid of books.
  3. I have a great deal to learn from the faith of others. My experience of faith, calling and community does not offer a complete picture of the Kingdom of God.   I’ve been looking for a church, hoping for one that “feels like home,” but I’m beginning to see that there is deep meaning in the variety of Christ’s body in this small Christian community.  We serve and love God, and we’ve come to BFA in response to the same call, but our experiences of God and calling and the practices of faith are widely varied.   I pray daily for the humility and grace to both share and receive in this conversation, that we might grow as a community to reflect and know God more completely.
  4. Some things are more difficult here (and this occasionally makes them more special). In a store that sells twelve flavors of mustard, I am unable to find the ground spices I need to make pumpkin pie.  After a run-in with dried ginger flakes and whole cloves, my coffee grinder produced a few highly-spiced French presses.  Also, it takes 25 minutes to whip a pint of cream by hand.   The reward of these efforts: Monday morning, Canadian Thanksgiving, ten students and one teacher have the matchless joy of homemade pumpkin pie as we celebrate the goodness of God, far from our homelands.  Worth it, for sure.
  5. “Home” grows as I do. We sit in the living room on my 26th birthday, drinking spiced wassail, eating warm apple cake and opening presents wrapped in ads for scarves and bicycles.  I’ve only known my roommates, Emily and Anna, for a few months, yet this feels like home.  And I’m thankful, at rest.

Thank you to all of you who sent greetings this week!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Pat Collins says:

    Kristi, thank you for sharing your learning process with us. I learned something too yesterday. Dog training is helpful in dealing with the vexations of life/work. You see, when you train a dog, they commonly become distracted by things you don’t want them to focus on. Another dog, a squirrel or something particularly smelly and disgusting they have found and want to eat/roll in. So you teach them to “Leave it!”

    Well, yesterday morning was a particularly vexations morning at work. I wanted to simmer in my frustration but knew that I needed to put it aside and, instead, bring grace to those I am called to serve. No matter how “Right” I am, the issue is not whether my feelings are justified or not. The question is am I loving those I serve (all 3 choirs of the morning) and being fully present with them? So I spent the morning telling myself “Leave it!” It provided perspective and humor – both much needed. Thank you Cantate!

    1. Kristi says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Pat! It’s great to have a little glimpse into what you’re learning and experiencing at home. I miss our Contemplative Women conversations over tea and cookies…

  2. raincitypastor says:

    keep writing – keep teaching – keep learning – keep cooking. I’m proud of you every time I read your blog.

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