Monday, September 6, 2010

The Hottest Spot in Europe...

I awoke early, with the sun peeking through the shutters on the lower level.  After I had dressed, I walked upstairs, and was greeted by fresh mountain air, a warm breeze, and morning sunlight.  Our friend's home had floor to ceiling shutters instead of screens that were closed at night for security, and opened each morning to allow God's beautiful world to enter.  What a delight!  I wanted to savor this moment for a long time.  Since Olivia was up as well, we both sat on the porch and had our devotions as we breathed in the morning.  Today was Sunday, and we were all headed into Grenoble to attend worship service at the Tabailloux family's Brethren chapel.  Olivia and I drove with Jeannie, and since we had an errand to run, arrived a bit late.  The sanctuary was packed full of folks wanting to hear the Word of God, and sing His refreshing!  Jean-Luc had already begun the service, so the three of us sat towards the back.
I listened carefully, as my memory of French vocabulary was a bit rusty, but I was amazed at how much I did remember.  Jeanne was very patient as I would ask her to translate a word here and there.  After the service, we met many friends of the family, who were very friendly and again,
 patient with me as I tried to communicate in French.
We were soon on our way for a quick picnic lunch on the front lawn of their coffee house ministry "Le Feu"(fire) which reaches out to the university students nearby (Grenoble is a Uni town).  It happened to be the hottest day of the year so far, and, Grenoble was the hottest spot in all of Europe that day...we were all dripping!
Jeannie was mentioning various options to occupy our time for the remainder of the afternoon, so, because it was so hot, we decided to explore the deep caves in a nearby town.  As we parked and walked towards the caves, we could feel the cool breeze, which was most welcome.  Families were picnicking, scattered around a stream below the cave entrance, enjoying the cool air as well.  We purchased tickets, and then gathered at the mouth of the cave to begin the tour.  We wound in and out of narrow passageways, watching our steps, as the rocks below us were slippery.  At times, it became claustrophobic, and we were barely able to squeeze through.  Later on, we reached an enormous open cavern, and when we had all assembled, the tour guide turned off the lights.  I don't think any of us knew what pitch blackness meant until that moment.  It was almost tangible!  The tour returned to the entrance, and as we exited, the heat of the day enveloped us once more.
The four of us had our photo taken in the foreground of an ancient aqueduct, still in use.  You could almost see the sweat on our faces!
We headed home, and had a lovely meal on the Tabailloux patio.  The Alps were magnificent...what a view!  Their home is situated in such a picturesque spot.  One would feel as though they were always on vacation here.  The photo at the top, a view of the Tabailloux home, shows a hang glider that has launched from the top of the mountain ridge above.  Jeannie enjoys watching them from her kitchen window, but, it has been a sad event in the past, when, about once a year, someone falls to their death.  A story is told of a father who was teaching his son to hang glide, and as they left the launching area, and were airborne, realized that he had forgotten to strap himself in.  Evidently at that point, there were only two options...they would both fall to their death, or, he would need to let go.  Briefing his young teenage son as to landing maneuvers, he sacrificed his own life, and let go.  How much like our Savior, who gave His own life for us!
We enjoyed our fellowship and meal in the cooler early evening
air; Jean-Luc and Jeannie and family have made us feel so welcomed and at home...we will hate to part with them.

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