Thursday, September 30, 2010
The trip to Scotland was a pilgrimage of sorts;I wanted to see and experience the land which my dear Grandmother had left as an infant and to set foot on the holy island of Iona.This is the place where Columba landed in 563 A.D.,determined to spread the Christian faith beyond Ireland.
In August,while in prayer,I experienced the impression that I would be given something on the trip.My response was to honestly think that I deserved nothing but would happily receive anything given.And that was that.
We travelled through Scotland,or Caledonia, for 14 days.It rained on and off for 13 of those days and it was windy and cold.I had to buy a hat,woolen scarf and gloves to fend off this unexpectedly bitter weather.But, the only day that we would spend on Iona, the sun was brilliant.Thus we were able to hike the two miles to the labyrinth at the southern end of the island.To get there,we walked down a country road that turned into a sheep pasture,then a rocky path over steep hills and finally to the beach.
The setting for this prayer path was indescribable.Hills,ocean, rocky beach,heather,and glorious sunshine.Finally, after laying on the beach and recovering from the hike,I stepped onto the labyrinth.I tried to empty myself of all thought and just "be" on the path.This labyrinth is like no other.Not only do wet rocks mark the path,but the path itself is strewn with kelp,sheep and cow droppings,some shells and a bit of heather.Scotland!
As I slowly walked ,saying a brief prayer,I was overtaken with peace.I do not know any other way to say this.I was not thinking of peace or relaxation,it just came and my whole body eased.It was as if I was being told this: "you are not in charge,do not worry about trains/buses and accomodations.This is not your trip to manage,I am in charge."
Perhaps ,this is the difference between a vacation and a pilgrimage.I had been so uptight about getting around,contracting a cold which would instantly turn into pneumonia,catching the right bus,ducking out of the rain, that I forgot that I was seeking the One who is in charge.The rest of the trip was a breeze.