Le Ravin: Jean-Marc's car accident in the French Alps
Tout va bien se passer (French for Everything's Gonna be OK!)

French for 'Emptiness': Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide....

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Heartfelt remerciements for your responses to this award from La Renaissance Française. Your kind words are pure gold! Back now to the weekly chronicle. I'm eagerly rolling up my sleeves and I thank you for reading.  (Mince! just realized today's word (selected days ago) clashes with this opening message. Read on to find out why... and learn extra vocabulary and French phrases in the story.

Today's Word: le vide

    : emptiness, nothingness, void

Audio file: click here and listen to Jean-Marc read these French words:
Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide en forme de Dieu que rien de ce qui a été créé ne peux remplir. There is a God-shaped hole in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing. 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

When my husband alerted me one of our hens was loose, I hurried over to the poulailler--a large enclosed yard where our 4 chicks and most of the neighborhood doves and pigeons congregate at feeding time. But as soon as our snow-white fugitive, 'Mama', saw me she hurried behind the narrow fence, out of reach.

Zut!
There was no time to chase down Mama if I was to make it to church on time. Tant pis! With any luck, Jules would see her from her studio window and put her safely back. On my way out, I quickly covered an artichoke plant to protect it from a wandering beak and hoped the lettuce et compagnie would be safe! Still, I worried about any fowl play, or damage I might return home to, what with a hen-on-the-loose... 

Strangely, the moment I walked out our front gate, poof! the worry disappeared...only to return hours later, on my way home from Sunday service. During the twenty-minute walk, I had been busy trying to memorize a quote our pasteur shared, by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal:

Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide en forme de Dieu que rien de ce qui a été créé ne peux remplir. There is a God-shaped hole in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing.

Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide ...
I was in the middle of repeating the citation when Mon Dieu! Ma poule! I remembered the situation back home... Cautiously opening the front gate, I was surprised to see my chicken bolting across the yard, in my direction. Skidding to a complete stop at my feet, my hen abruptly turned and crouched down in an instant surrender. So I reached down and swooped her up.

As we walked quietly back to the fenced pen, my feather fugitive resting securely under my own wing, I murmured to her: Big world out there, hmm? Lots of fresh grass to eat, luscious lettuce, forbidden artichokes leaves... And now, after tasting all that you want to go back to your humble--cozy abode...

With each vérité, my hen murmured back, her eyes fixed on her now-precious enclos.
Yes, I understand, I do understand! I continued, sharing a famous dicton:

Un petit chez soi vaut mieux qu'un grand chez les autres. A little place, all one's own, is worth more than a big someone else's place.

A sweet quote, n'est-ce pas? This brings me back to the other citation I had been trying to memorize. Let's see, where was I... Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide en forme de Dieu...there is, in the heart of man, an emptiness... in the shape of God....

The two sayings have nothing to do with one another, but after trying to scribble some philosophy into a chicken story, I am suddenly all fowled up, and struggling to conclude today's offering. How about we combine both quotes and end with this proverb:

Home is where the heart is. Là où est le coeur, là est le foyer.



--
For more, don't miss Pascal's God-shaped Hole, an article in The Harvard Ichthus. And, special thanks to our hen, 'Mama,' for inspiring so many bilingual French quotes in today's edition. 

FRENCH VOCABULARY
le remerciement = thanks, acknowledgment
mince
= damn!
le poulailler
= henhouse, chicken coop
zut! = shoot!
tant pis = too bad
et compagnie = and the rest, and the others
le pasteur = pastor, minister
Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide en forme de Dieu que rien de ce qui a été créé ne peux remplir = There is a God-shaped hole in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing
la vérité = truth
le dicton = saying, adage, proverb
un enclos = pen, run, enclosed plot of land
un petit chez soi vaut mieux qu'un grand chez les autres = A little place, all one's own, is worth more than a big someone else's place!
n'est-ce pas? = isn't it?
Là où est le coeur, là est le foyer = Home is where the heart is
Homme heart coeur
I was looking for photos to go with the heart/home theme in the last quote. Est-ce que ça passe ou ça casse? Does this one make it or break it? Would you rather see a photo of a chicken? :-)

Poulailler chicken pen

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