Dog walked, floors swept, bathroom cleaned. Now I have time before preparing lunch to sit and write a few words about the week that seems to by flying past at breakneck speed.
I’m still here at L’Abri; conversing, thinking, listening and studying. Most of my study time this week has been taken up with reading and writing about mental health, and depression in particular.
It’s not been easy and I am immensely grateful to the other 30 students and helpers here that form the community for their gentle support as I relive some of the darkest times in my life in order to put them down on paper so that, hopefully, others may be helped by this.
I’ve been thinking about the phrase “Mental Health”. How we know that physical health is important; rest, exercise, eating right. How we take time off regularly to maintain our emotional health in relationships and ‘space’, how we talk in the church of spiritual health and are encouraged to pray, read the Bible, study together and sometimes attend retreats and other spiritual holidays like Spring Harvest and Soul Survivor but very rarely do we talk about maintaining our mental health. I’ve been thinking about what it might mean to be mentaly healthy; what activities would we undertake to strengthen or maintain our mental health and how might we build those activities into our regular lifestyle.
And in the midst of this thinking, reading and writing yesterday was Apple Day here at L’Abri. All the community gathered together to harvest the many apples; to peal, core, slice and then freeze them or to prepare them for apple sauce (about 100 jars worth that will last 12months) or to dice the apples and then crush them to make apple juice. I had been told that the apple juice was destined to be made into cider and so I threw myself into the dicing and crushing process wholeheartedly.
Approximately 40 crates of apples were dealt with yesterday (a crate being the delivery crate that food comes in from a supermarket internet order) and another 20 crates of eating apples then sorted and placed in the cool cellar for consumption with lunch over the next few months.
It was a great day of a community pulling together. A time of singing silly songs, telling each other more of our life stories, working alongside each other and generally working together to achieve a set task. Made even better when Claire and the boys dropped in for a brief visit and dinner. It was a privilege to share with them this place that has become a very special place for me in the short time I’ve spent here.
But now, with the memory of apple juice fingers fresh in my mind, it is back to reading, thinking and writing.