And now I am firmly ensconced in Bossey, Switzerland at the Ecumenical Institute. At least, as ensconced as one can be for four days. I am here with a working group of the Lutheran World Federation. We have gathered from near and far to deliberate over the nature of the church, and what it means for the LWF to call itself “A Communion of Churches,” and what it means to be in communion in light of those human frailties that fracture unity, community and the self.
I give a paper tomorrow, but today I am mostly trying to stay awake. I flew through the night, which gives me that curious sense that somehow, someone has robbed me of a day. I am doing all I can to stay awake, not wanting to sit up in bed four hours hence, wide awake even while I know that this is exactly what will happen no matter what. Jetlag exacts payment. You don’t get to defy space without time exacting its revenge.
I went for a walk in the late afternoon, and after about 10 minutes ran into a wall. I literally felt as though I was pushing through a pool of jello (without that curious mixture of uncommon texture and too common flavour). Each step required an act of the will, a volitional defiance of everything in me that said: lay down and have a nap. I refused that then and I refuse that now, and so I write. But not for long.
Soon, the words will blur, my sentences will slur as if I were sheets to the wind. My body winds down. Soon it will be time to succumb to the memories of a day’s travel: airports thick with a lifetime or more of agony and ecstasy; babies crying and parents stoically refusing to join in; the unlikely discovery of a Swiss Chalet (yes that Swiss Chalet) in Switzerland; the meeting of new colleagues and the re-meeting of old; and that curious sense of disorientation that comes when a threshold has been broached and a new challenge announced.
Soon it is time to let the day’s memories of spring flowers, song birds, and greening grass pass over me like a wave of tomorrow. Soon