Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One Week In France

A hawk and its nest in Cornebarrieu...
Waiting for the train...

One week in France. Yesterday, in a train on my way northward to the small town of Azat-le-Riz, in the Limousin Region, I met a man. Not just any man; a man named Bernard. We talked the entire way from the Gare Matabiau in Toulouse until he reached his destination of Brive La Gaillard, where his daughter picked him up and, after a brief “bonjour” exchanged between his daughter and me, he was gone. I can only tell you that this encounter with a man I will never see again ended up being exactly what I needed on that two-and-a-half-hour journey. He read me like a book, and seemed to do so with much joy and seriousness. He told me things that made me cry. He told me things that made me laugh. We spent the time being real with each other in a way that told me his presence was no accident. He said I needed to learn to say “No” with others, that I had depleted my spirit, my self over the last year and was now paying for it physically. He told me it was time to just be with myself and find my place again in my world. He said that it wasn’t egotistical, that it was necessary if I wanted to become whole again.
La Gare in Limoges
My husband has been saying much the same thing to me, just different words and of course being my dense self, I had a hard time hearing him. So, I listened to this stranger who was not a stranger, just another human on his own path to restoring his own being. I listened and when he touched nerves, I allowed myself to cry, I allowed myself to laugh out loud. I listened. I allowed myself to accept the gift of whatever it was I needed that he was offering and even now, I can feel tears because of how open I let myself become to my love of being in France and how much I love the French language; being alone and yet not and seeing how incredibly difficult I find it to let me think of myself as important to myself. I know the saying of having to “take care of yourself so you can be present for others when they need you.” Parents get told this all the time. Now, after over a full year of taking care of others, making sure my duties toward others were fulfilled, I am crying because I’m so stopped up when it comes to thinking of taking care of no one but myself.
Bernard was a guardian angel sent to make me wake up to what I can do for my spirit now, not in a few months, not when I get home or to another place, but now. It’s time to let go of the superficial and dive deep. I will not find my depths floating on someone else's sea. Merci Bernard. I wish you only good things in your life and thank you for reminding me I am here in France, alone, for a reason…


  1. That was no accident you met him. Now, take the advice of that angel.

  2. You were meant to meet Bernard and hear what he had to say.

  3. Hi Lisa - what a fabulous encounter ... was this in French or English - I guess the latter. But how wonderful you recognised that these were words and ideas you needed to hear. Life is so fascinating ... lovely Bernard - so glad you struck up your conversation, that will probably change your life ... cheers Hilary

    1. This was all in French Hilary, which was another bonus, as practicing French is one of the reasons I'm doing this "writer's retreat" in France!

  4. I totally believe our creator will put people and signs in our path to direct our steps, if we are willing to pay attention and listen. I'm so happy to hear you're getting energized. Have a glass of wine for me.

  5. Bernard was most definitely an angel in disguise.


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