Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Laying Down

I sat next to a lovely guest at lunch. It's my day off. I don't go to meals with guests on my days off. I did today. This lady that I sat next to is a Quaker. One of about seven we have here with us in the Abbey for Christmas week. Inspiring.

We were chatting away and I was being asked all of the usual guest questions about what brought me to Iona, what do I do here, what do I want to do next, how old am I, what do my family and friends think of me being here, what is good and what is bad about living in community... However, although these were the normal questions I've got so used to answering this year, this conversation was different. She cared, massively. Not that other guests don't care, but this was deep down care. She was interested in all I had to say, and would put a new twist on my life for me. Not a twist that annoyed me like some, but a twist that intrigued me.

When discussing my job as Hospitality Team Support Worker and the trials and joys that it has brought in 2010, and then discussing moving in to my job as Abbey Housekeeper come January for 2011, she said something that made me smile, that reassured me.

She said something along the lines of "it's all about laying it down, not throwing it away or dumping it or forgetting about it, but laying it down gently and moving away and moving on as you can".

Just what I needed to hear. Laying Down. That's what I need to do.

I don't need to put 2010 behind me or put Hospitality Team Support Worker behind me; I need to lay them down. The handover of my job may take some time and it may cause some personal trials along the way, but if I gently lay it down I will be able to do it. I will be able to comfortably hand my beloved job over to a completer stranger and take over a job from an amazing friend. I won't throw away this job and shake the new one. I will lay this one down and carefully pick up the new one.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

'It never snows on Iona'

'It never snows on Iona' is a very well heard phrase. Because, it's true. NOT! I thought it was true, that is pretty much never snowed on Iona, mainly because I've only ever seen one picture of the Abbey in snow and the Abbey isn't even a complete building! However, even I have been proven wrong...

 St John's cross got snowed on - on one side!
The Cloisters - untouched

Where there was only one set of footprints...

I never thought I'd be sledging on Tor Ab outside the Abbey

So, there you have it - Iona in snow! Way more pictures on facebook if you want to see. There are some hilarious videos also, but they may be private viewings only! I'm off to bed now because all of the cold air and sledging injuries have worn me out...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


"Close your eyes,
Get some sleep,
It's too late now to change anything,
But it's alright,
Get some sleep.
It's so dark outside,
So close your eyes,
And feel the world turn round.
If you're not lost,
I guess that makes you found"

Newton Faulkner

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Beauty is within grasp... open your eyes and you'll see it

 View from the north side of the Abbey, looking east across the snow covered Burg and Ben More on Mull
 The Abbey from the south east corner, in breathtaking morning sunlight on my way to Bishops House for communiona
 The sunrise over Fionnphort, Mull
 St Oran's chapel, the oldest of the Abbey buildings, with a dusting of snow and low winter sunlight
 Amazing shadows from the high nunnery walls
Edinburgh Castle at the end of November, looking majestic with the bright blue backdrop

Monday, 6 December 2010

God's Small Voice

I've just returned from our evening service in the Michael Chapel that Ian was leading, and it's made me think... (worrying, I know!)

Listen to God; listen to his small voice within.

I totally agree. God does have a small voice within each of us, and we need to be able to hear that voice. We also need to be able to hear his voice in other places and ways too.

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I spent the majority of my afternoon off playing my guitar - old songs, new songs, my songs, Sue's songs, Naughty Niece songs and even writing a song. "I don't have time to play my guitar" I say - but when I thought about it last night when I'd put my guitar down, I thought "that's a lie". I do have time to play guitar, but I don't make that time in to guitar time. I use it to write, to read (I know, shock!), to listen to music and have a nap, to go for a walk, to email, to call people, to chat with my housemates, to drink tea and eat biscuits (rich tea's, of course!)... All of which are great and really useful for me (yes, especially the tea drinking!).

But, why don't I make time for guitar? Because it takes effort to tune, to get my music out, to find time when my housemates aren't in so I don't annoy them? Because I get annoyed because I'm not as good as I used to be? Because I don't have the energy to be creative? Because it involves sitting still and I'm not good at that? I honestly have no idea!

So, along with listening to God's small voice within, are there other ways we can listen to God?

Yesterday I found time to be with God, to listen to God, to experience God through my guitar and through singing and it has encouraged me to do this more often - not only because I do actually enjoy it when I make the time, but because it's a faith strengthener.

What faith strengtheners do you have? Do you use them often? Do you listen to God's small voice within, in whatever form that takes?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Do you ever wonder...

...why people always talk about technology being so much better than it used to be? If that's the case, then why can no trains or planes or cars cope with the snow?! I'm sitting listening to BBC Radio2 (coz I'm cool like that...) and after I had a wee mini rave to some cheesy 80's music, the traffic and weather information came on - and it sounds as though the whole of Britain is stuck because of the snow. Come on people, we must be able to deal with snow better than this somehow - and we're gonna have to improve cause it's going to keep happening now, let's face it.
Strange thing is, just a few hours ago I was on the phone to Becs who's out in Australia and she's talking about being in shorts and a vest top. Isn't the world a confusing and totally fascinating place? One side of the world is stopping because of some snow, and one side of the world is enjoying summer sun... It's going to be Christmas soon... and I just can't believe how different the world is. I'd love to go and celebrate Christmas in the sun one day. And I bet some Australians would like to spend it in the snow. Odd...
Anyway, just my wee ponderings of the day :) My mind likes to ponder. Most of which I won't share here, just now anyway!
Wherever you are and whatever the weather, don't be fooled by it - just do what you can and enjoy every moment of today because today won't last forever!