I squealed like a schoolgirl when we passed the sign on the A1 yesterday. It read “The Holy Island of Lindisfarne”.
The sign just popped out of nowhere . . . like all other signs along all other motorways; the same size, color, font, etc. it could have read, “Garbage Dump” or “Six Flags Over Bamburgh”, it was that innocuous.
Why didn’t THIS sign glow with it’s own internal mystical light? Why did it require common steel posts to hold it above the ground instead of it’s own powers of levitation? Why was it not gilded, carved from exotic wood or precious stone?
It just stood there on the side of the A1 . . . .a very common sign indeed.
But it meant so much more to me.
Land of my fathers,
how I long to return,
to touch thy earth,
and find again thy sacred paths,
well-walked with the Gospel of Peace . . .
. . .this is the land of my fathers. My first, physicl interaction with a common road sign. A wonderfully un-romantic introduction reminding me that I can crush the tender gifts God is so eager to give, with the sheer weight of my often exotic expectations (gilded, levitating road signs being a relatively tame example)
My daughter, The Jump Seat Pixie, has been sharing similar experiences in her blog, interestingly: Confusing the gift with the gift giver, holding all of creation (including self) to unattainable expectations.
Oh God, gently hold open the pages of my book so that you can write upon them whatever you see fit. I carry so much with me today, so much that I feel there is not enough room for it all to be written:
– I feel the abscence of my father so very potently. Oh how I wish I could share this all with him, even though he cared little for our family history, he cared a lot for me. I had ahold solid cry for my parents today. It felt good.
– I feel the intimidating weight of Seven Years of Sundays pushing me toward a new chapter of life, work, vocation and leadership in the church. Puzzle pieces.
– There has always been a little extra salt in our family’s blood. To say we are sea-faring would be way out of bounds but the ocean has always held a special place for us. It was very good to stand on the shore, the smell of the sea in my nostrils, the memory of scattering my parents ashes in the Pacific Ocean, and knowing that by now, those ashes are just as present here in the North Sea as they are in any ocean on Earth.
– The sea and the spirit in Bamburgh Castle (historic capital of the Kingdom of Norhtumbrian) blended together with all our experiences and the resonance with these Scottish/Northern English lands to feel like home with a new depth.
The sea was a missing but necessary ingredient in connecting this whole trip.
The sea. Ah, the sea.
Bamburgh Castle is proving to be emblematic somehow. It has an informality that we have not felt in other castles; still regal, but homey. There is a wooden ceiling in the Great Hall that is spectacular, but warm and accessible. Ive allowed myself to fantasize about the local folks (Hazens among them) being welcomed into that hall on special occasions.
– For the first time in over 20 days, we’re living in close proximity to brothers and sisters. Jeff and Jill Sutheran have welcomed us into their B&B with the familiar grace and hospitality offered only by the redeemed. It’s not like we’ve had a big prayer service or communion with breakfast . . . It’s just that sense of welcome and familiarity that you’re with family. They went the extra mile to help us with changed travel arrangements, a massive pile of laundry and Brenda’s “travel” illness (from which she has fully recovered, thank you)
– Tomorrow we visit the old township of Hazon.