Thursday, February 2

Do you hear the bells?

I listed to the gongs on a church bell tower as I tried to fall asleep in the hotel. We had a staff retreat in a tiny town near Madrid and their church clock struck the quarter hour, half hour, three-quarters, and of course on the hour. It's a sound foreign to my Missouri and Kansas upbringing.

I have enjoyed church bells since first living in Europe with IMM in Belgium many years ago. It charms me and reminds me I'm not home, but someplace different. Someplace with a different story to tell.

At this retreat, I realized I'd never noticed that some church towers are sounding the time out for the entire village. I'm sure in general people don't notice much as it is just a sound of daily life, but I imagined a time when people didn't have watches, and clocks in every room.

This particular church tower dated back to the 12th century and I could picture people pausing in their activities to "hear" the time. Did they rush from a vegetable market when they realized it was already two o'clock and lunch was ready at home? Did people set appointments by the number of strikes from the powerful bell? I don't know, but it's an aspect of life that charms me and reminds me that we are not in Kansas anymore Toto!