Every cloud…

We can at least be thankful that the weather has provided a sunny setting for what would otherwise have been an even dismaller lock-down.

Back home, my cousin’s feijoa harvest

I first visited Abergavenny a year ago. I stayed for three days to see whether it might be a place where I felt called to spend a year of discernment. Then, too, there was glorious sunshine, and one of the locals told me it would be the only three days of sunshine here for a year. You were wrong! At the end of February, as the time finally came for me to move to Wales, I was rather apprehensive about leaving my New Zealand summer, as torrential floods had just started to drain in Wales. But as it turns out, my mother informs me it’s already consistently several degrees warmer in Abergavenny than it is back home. And she’s only just coming into feijoa season!

The 2020 lay members meet each other in Liverpool for the first time

But if the threat of pandemic is looming over this land as a metaphorical cloud, it can be helpful to look for silver linings. I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of kind-hearted expressions of concern from compassionate members of the community who are conscious of the fact that both I and brother Nicolas are isolated in a strange community at relative distance from our family and friends. But I think, in a sense, this is the best place we could be for it. I suspect that if we were back in the big smog of Auckland, or Paris, people would take it for granted that we have our families and friends around us, notwithstanding the fact that most friends have dispersed after university, and both of our dear mothers abandoned us for the countryside years ago. Here, though, the chocolates just keep appearing on the doorstep.

Br Nathaniel

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