I was happy in a room without a roof

imageI had planned to arrive in Melrose (the beginning of St. Cuthbert’s Way) on Monday well before noon. I was close (it was 4 o’clock). Everything went swimmingly until my flight was delayed, so I missed the connection and had to take a later flight to Edinburgh. Then there was the pesky issue of which bus to take from Edinburgh to Melrose. Six bus drivers (Yep. Six!) had trouble deciding whether I should take the 62. Or the 95. Or maybe the 62A…which is how I found myself sitting on the bridge just above the Royal Mile. On the sidewalk, actually. For a chocolate break. Only one guy thought I was homeless. imageAt any rate, I found my way to Melrose (alongside a lovely woman from France, also looking for the same bus). What had been a sunny, warm spring day morphed into a grey, damp afternoon while I was on the bus trying desperately to keep my eyes open (did I mention that there was not a wink of sleep on the plane? The gentleman next to me had a persistent cough and an unhappy infant made her irritation with the whole business quite clear. Sigh.) Still, it was the perfect weather for visiting the Abbey. The roofless ruins were beautiful in the mist, with birds singing their sweet afternoon song. I was happy. I had wondered how I would feel about travelling solo, especially so far from home. This afternoon I discovered that it suits me just fine. I wandered through the ruins of the abbey, thinking of those early monks and being amazed at the the thriving community they built together. I remembered six years ago, when I was on a preaching exchange and my husband and four young children scrambled up the narrow steimageps to the bell tower. I walked among the gravestones, in varying states of decay, with their names and dates worn from millions of raindrops. I may be here by myself, but I am certainly not alone. There is something beautiful about travelling in the footsteps of many faithful people who have come before me. Long before I was born there were men and women serving the poor, leading worship, and seeking to live faithfully in community. There was also something beautiful about how the elders all came forward on Sunday, praying that God might grant me ‘travelling mercies’ and offering words of blessing. I may have thought I was coming on this pilgrimage all by myself, but it turns out I have lots of company. And that is very good. Because tomorrow I am going to need a massage. My pack it heavier than I thought!

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5 Responses to I was happy in a room without a roof

  1. Sarah Travis says:

    Um…your eyes are a bit crossed! Hope you got some sleep at the end of the day.

  2. Loved reading this…thank you!!!! We walk in the footprints of so many……how blessed!

  3. Anne says:

    Many blessings as you begin walking tomorrow. Know that TPC loves you and is praying for you on your journey.

  4. Darrow says:

    Your wonderful photos are inspiring me to take more of what I see.

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