Something Bigger?

After the excitement of the last few weeks of the year things began soon began to get quieten down in Gensdouce. Christmas was the usual family celebration and I was glad to spend it with Thérèse and Guillaume, as most of my other friends were away visiting relations. We had some wonderful moments around the blazing fire talking, reminiscing and dreaming about the future. I had hoped to ask Violette around or at least go out for a drink with her, but she was away with her mother most of the holiday. Unusually, the New Year celebration was also remarkably quiet; events obviously had taken their toll on village. The New Year’s fireworks offered by the Mayor were cancelled, by all accounts a clumsy excuse enabling an unpopular Mayor to avoid having to give a speech to a crowd of absent… well, let’s say well-wishers wouldn’t quite be the most appropriate word. The party at the pub went ahead as usual, but even there the atmosphere was subdued, despite Violette’s presence.

This subdued mood reflected well what was going on inside. I’d been trying to put a finger on it. Friends thought it was just fear of what was coming up: the new responsibilities for the now homeless leisure centre, and the possibility of a full-blown battle with Mayor Demille. I wasn’t so sure. I’m no Braveheart, that’s for sure, but I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in, and my reputation with the Demilles could scarcely suffer from what might happen. Was it homesickness? It was a rather lonely holiday period and I always miss home on such occasions; not so much the family, we never were that close, but all the little happenings and traditions, the beautiful, familiar Christmas carols, and the evenings round the fire.

But deep down, I just felt something was wrong. No, not wrong – missing, more like. Maybe it started that Christmas morning when I went to the Christmas service with Guillaume and Thérèse. Unlike, the majority of the village population they didn’t go to the local Catholic church, but to one of the new-fangled ‘independent’ churches which had began springing up in some of the bigger cities in France. Now I’ve no real religious convictions, at least, hadn’t had until now, so I didn’t really mind where I went. As I was spending Christmas with Thérèse and Guillaume, then why shouldn’t I go with them to their church. Besides, most of the village had been there once, when Thérèse and Guillaume had got married that summer. But that rather obvious fact was overlooked by those whose tongues were quick to wag.

The service itself was quite lively, especially compared to the drabness of the traditional mass. Perhaps, it was too lively. There was little of the solemnity I was so used to from mass in the local church. At least, the sermon, given by a visiting African pastor, addressed some of the real issues in life. Maybe, that’s what's bothering me. I remember saying to myself I’d have to talk to Guillaume about it, but I kept putting off. Was I afraid of what he might say?

To be perfectly honest, I’d never really thought much about God. I guess I’m like most people for that. I attended mass fairly regularly, mainly for the liturgy and the music – and to keep up traditions… but God! And I’d never even asked myself, what if… I wasn’t asking it now. But… but what if? That was what was worrying me. I’d sometimes walk out of a night and look up at the stars and want to be a part of all that, of some overarching reason, of some story from the beginning of time which would make sense of everything. And then there was the Christmas present. I’d often wondered whether Thérèse deliberately gave me that book, knowing what it was. It was a superb find, either way, because there weren’t many English books flying around Gensdouce. Dorothy Sayers was well known, even in France. Maybe, Thérèse thought, it was another of her detective novels, or maybe she was gently trying to bring me into the fold… one of that pastor’s favourite expressions. Either way, I couldn’t get the book either out of my hand or my thoughts.

I remember talking to Violette about it as I walked her home after the New Year’s Eve party at the pub. But she just laughed it off. Thought I must be going all soft or something. And strangely enough, that’s exactly how I would have reacted just a few months ago. But now, I was not so sure.


I think everyone has those thoughts from time to time.

19 December 2007 at 22:13  

well you defiantly have me wondering where simon will go from here.... hmmmmmm....

20 December 2007 at 06:05  

I too wonder about Simon...


21 December 2007 at 04:05  

some plant seeds, some water, some harvest...which shall it be?...

21 December 2007 at 21:11  

Mary from Meander With Me
My first visit to this particular site and found myself quite at home. Can't help commenting on your comments concerning God. I posted a poem containing some a thought or two on mine on the subject just this morning. I'll be back. This blogging is akin to finding a whole brand-new family.

1 January 2008 at 15:35  

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