Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Leaving Iona

The surprise is that I am ready to leave.

It's not that I am bored or upset.

I have received here more than I could have asked for or imagined.

The Iona Religious Community has provided a nourishment for my soul that I didn't even know I needed. The simplicity and poetic flow of the language are capable of sending subtle but powerful messages to one's heart, mind and body.

The Iona Community - the artisans, the shop owners, the folks who manage the inns and Bed and Breakfast, the folks who run the ferry boats and the sailboats and the fishing boats - could not have been warmer and more lovely and happy to engage in conversation.

Even the quirky older woman at the Post Office (Isn't there always a quirky older man or woman at the PO?), who was, at first, resistant to conversation, finally engaged my questions and considered my observations about 'island life'.

I've been to both ends and the middle of the Island and I suppose there is always more to explore. I have taken home some rocks because, well, it seems to be what everyone does.

But, the most enduring image I will take with me is that of Andrew, a young man with Trisomy-21 (Down's Syndrome) who is part of the Iona Religious Community at the Abbey.

Andrew (he pronounces it 'AHN-drew') rings the bell to call the community to worship.

Andrew is one of the first ones forward for laying on of hands for healing.

Andrew is one of the first ones to join in the circle of laying on of hands for healing.

I don't think you can know how powerful it is to have hands laid on you for healing until you feel Andrew's hands on your back, or have Andrew offer a hand to help you up, or have Andrew look deep into your eyes and smile. Then, there are one of Andrew's fabulous hug.

And, I think the very angels in heaven rejoice to hear Andrew sing - flat,off-key, no always getting all the words.

Ah, but the energy with which he sings is enough to make the angels weep with joy.

So, I shall miss Andrew, and Cat who made my shawl, and Mercy who ran the larder next door, and the old woman who designed the Iona Tartan and is now "gobsmacked" she says, that she will "die a rich old woman over something I doodled at my kitchen table one morning."

After so many years of resistance, I'm glad I came. I'm happy to encourage you to come.

It is a place of great beauty as well as hidden harshness.

It is a place at the heart of Celtic Spirituality - of pilgrimage and sacrifice, of putting your matter into the matter of things so that there may be in you and in the world the justice and joy which is at the very heart of the universe which God has created.

I will be taking more than just a few rocks home with me.

I will be taking that which the rocks represent and will tell if you ask them and then hold them up to your ear to listen: Stories.

Not atoms - no! - but stories are, indeed, what hold the world together.

I have discovered a few of my own. Now to weave them together with the stories of the world and the stories of God's people.

Blessed be!


Gloria said...

I'm so glad it was a rich time for you. Makes me want to go back. (I did not see the puffins.)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

If you go to see the puffins, make sure to bring your courage. The stairs are steep and wet and slick and there's only one guard rail. It is not for the faint of heart.

Pat Newcomb said...

I am just two weeks ahead of you having followed your path almost to the step - May 11 to 18. You have captured the beauty and spirit of this place so completely. Literally taking me right back to all the places you mention. Thank you so much for 'crafting' these beautiful pieces.