When I was 18, I discovered a small spiritual community in Lavaux-ste-Anne, called “Fraternité de Tibériade”. Touched by the dedication and youthfulness of the monks, I felt drawn to stay and live with them for a while. One morning I was working in the garden. A gentle rain tapped on my head and transformed everything in a pool of mud. With shoes heavy with water and dirt, I entered the guest house to drink some tea. Too late it dawned on me that the floor had just been cleaned. Looking down at the trail of mud spots, I became aware of Brother Geert who was just finishing off swiping the last tiles.
Our eyes crossed. He knew what had happened. With a smile he walked towards me. I wanted to apologise, but he touched my arm and said: “Thank you. You sanctify my work”.
This brief moment left a big imprint in me. I always remember it when something doesn’t go as planned. Like today, I had to cancel my trip to Sweden, my back is not yet cured. A week of dancing, singing, spiritual practices, and rituals that I had looked forward to for a while.
Any disappointment exposes the delusion that happiness and fulfilment are situated in the future, if particular conditions are met. When things don’t go according to plan, and all my expectations remain unfulfilled, this is what saint Francis would call the “perfect joy”: a beautiful opportunity to practice gratitude in the face of adversity or disaster. It consecrates whatever banale activity or event was happening into a sanctuary, a portal of grace.
So thank you. This sanctifies my Summer.