Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Listening to Silence

There is something wonderful about listening to silence.  Right now, in the quiet of 5:00 am, the only things I can hear are a distant clock ticking and the very slight buzzing of my computer's little cooling fan.  I'm sure that these sounds are always there.  But they are usually drowned out by other noises when we and the rest of Lyon usually wake up.  The first morning sounds we typically hear come from the "high-heel lady".   That's name we have given to the early-rising woman in the apartment just above us who must look very fashionable, even though we have never actually seen her.  You can guess where we got her name.  And the daily sounds of living in a city just ramp up from there.

Another source of "silence" is that fact that we don't have a TV, a radio, or a newspaper.  We didn't hear much of the U.S. election coverage this year, didn't watch the Grammys, and didn't even know who was playing in the Super Bowl, let alone watch any of the ads!  On many of our daily walks, this lack of information has been our topic of conversation.   We have decided that this might be a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, we are really out of the loop concerning much of what is going on in the world around us.  On the other hand, we are really out of the loop concerning much of what is going on in the world around us!

The biggest blessing of living outside of the "noise" is that the little things, those that are always there but usually go unnoticed and forgotton, finally get a chance.  Some of them, like ticking clocks or buzzing fans are probably not that critical.  But others are much more important than campaigns or football games.

Gee!  I just noticed that our fridge makes a gurgling-spaceship kind of sound when it kicks on!

On a recent visit to a little village destroyed in World war II.

A quiet spot in one of Lyon's many hidden "miraboules".

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Making Transitions

President Brown, our Lyon France mission president, asked us if we could help a young sister missionary who is having some struggles as a new missionary in a new place with a new language, etc.  She has an interest and background in art, and as President Brown wisely told us, she needs to continue to "feel the art" as she serves as a full-time missionary.
As we have been thinking about how to help her, we can't help but reflect on how we needed to make that same transition ourselves from being full time professors, being surrounded by friends and family, living in a large and beautiful home, taking walks along the river, speaking English, being Matt and Chris...to becoming full time missionaries, surrounded by strangers, living in a little apartment, taking walks while dodging the traffic of a metropolitan center, speaking French and being called Elder et Sœur.... 

One of the things that has made this transition easier for Elder et Sœur Geddes is that they brought Matt and Chris with them!  And it is amazing how many of our experiences, interests, and passions have become useful missionary tools.  Some, like our love for French culture and language, had an immediate and obvious connection.  But what about things like sculpting or hula (Sœur Geddes obviously!) or playing the guitar or a passion for travel or a love of new food adventures or being art and literature teachers?  We are finding so many ways that all of the things that we learned and loved before our mission connect and adapt beautifully to full-time missionary service.  Heavenly Father gave us each different gifts, interests and abilities.  And all of these gifts can be used for His purpose of serving others.  There will always be some growing pains with change.  But you don't have to become someone or something different that who you are to be a good missionary.  You just have to keep trying to become a little better version.  We think that this is the thing we would like to share with this young sister missionary. 

Christine Beaute. . .

. . . and Matmut.  About says it all!