Do Away with Evening Meetings
Living in another culture, even for a brief amount of time impacts a person many ways: language, food, driving, architecture, climate, dress....and time. Still under the influence of jet-lag, Martha and I are up at 4:30 am each morning. Coffee gets started and we head in different directions in mutually-agreed silence. I am attempting to bring back a new structure of time in my life: Bible and coffee first, before news, before emails, voicemails, blogs, or even conversation. I am amazed at how clear my head is (with the help of strong coffee) first thing in the morning. Alone in the living room with a tablet of paper, Bible and coffee, I am reading for a solid hour.
Then the days progress like any other day, with varied routines and commitments. But what we saw our French friends do was unique, and attractive. They had late afternoon Bible studies, prayer meetings and committee meetings, but nothing at night. Now I'm sure some people had meetings at night that I did not see. But, by and large, the custom is that people work until 6 or 7 pm and then eat as long as they wish to or need to. The time following the evening meal was devoted to conversation with those with whom you ate, a walk through town or country, a game of petanque, TV, or reading.....but no meetings. It was wonderful.
That does not address the problem of those whose only free time to meet is in the evening, with premarital counseling, musical rehearsals, and committees. So I'm sure I will adapt to the ways time is used here again as it becomes necessary. But oh how nice are those meetinglesss-evenings!