30 June 2013

Reflections from Scotland

We returned from our final YAV retreat earlier this week, and after some consideration I don't think I can do it justice with one of my typical rundown posts. In short, I LOVED Scotland... which surprised me for some reason. We spent time as a group in Edinburgh and Iona, then the boys and I spent some extra time in Glasgow. Each city had its own flavor and special moments, so I will just pull a few excerpts from my private journal:

On a train, click-clickity-clacking through the Scottish countryside. I love it here.... I have this intense desire to never leave this place. 

Kathryn and I at the Storytelling Centre
We spent the past two days in Edinburgh. I never really left the touristy areas, but loved the city all the same.  ... The city itself seems to have pride in storytelling. Kathryn, TJ, David and I went on a ghost tour last night, after a day that involved hiking Arthur's Seat, learning about a social enterprise for homeless people in the Grassmarket, lunch at the place where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, ... and an afternoon exploring Edinburgh Castle.

Even with my camera there's no way I could adequately capture fields of wildflowers against a soft blue sky. Grass so green. Do these colours even exist back home?

(OK, you caught me: this photo isn't from Scotland)
(after a service loosely based on Ecclesiastes 3)
We went to the evening service at the Abbey, and as a part of the prayer the officiant read out the familiar "a time for..." and we were meant to add our wordless prayers. So when she said something, I tried my best to feel it - as a way to see what I associate with that emotion ... A time for gratitude: C.'s smile. 

I sit now on a ferry, watching Mull slip into the distance as we return to the mainland. Iona was like a dream.

We took a trip today through the Scottish Highlands to Glen Coe and Loch Ness. The thought of following in the footsteps of my ancestors on this trip (first Iona, now this place) is so strange, but incredibly powerful.

Photo credit: David Mills
As we entered the bus terminal, we saw a chilling sight: groups of well-dressed men and women with signs and brochures proclaiming the gospel - ignoring the shivering, barefoot man sitting just feet away. How often do I do the same - literally, or figuratively? 

To see the rest of my Scotland photos (warning: there are several!), click here.

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