Childhood Story Revisited

'It's been too long' each of us said. It had been more than a decade since three of our Community's founders - Mike, Russ and myself- had met together as a threesome. Russ and Mike had led a healing pilgrimage for USA friends. They started at Glasgow's St. Mungo's Cathedral, went on to Ninian's Whithorn and Ruthwell Cross, to Iona, Killin - where they laid hads on St. Fillan's healing stones and prayed for the sick - to St. Fillan's Cave at Pittweem, where Bishop Bill of Albany celebrated Holy Communion, and finally to Holy Island, where they wandered, prayed, received spiritual direction and blessed others.

What most riveted me was the three co-founders recalling of our viait to Farne Isle two decades ago to take The Voyage of the Coracle. We were the first seven adults to take vows. We invited the three Mitton children (Jo, Chris and Lucy) and the two Parker children (Emma and Joel) to make such promises as seemed real to them at the time.

My recall started with a negative self-image. I had ordered a boat from Holy Island, but had failed to find out that it would not be granted permission to land on Farne Isle. I blamed myself for a cock-up. 'Not at all' said Russ. 'Don't you remember, the Farne Isle's National Trust wardens told us they would allow people in a dinghy in an emergency, that we hailed the Dutch skipper of a holiday cruise boat and asked him to take us in a dinghy, that he obliged and told us his name was Aidan? God meant that to happen'. Aidan was helping us.

Russ is a great one for seeing God meanings in makeshift human arrangements. We had not realised that attacks from screeching nesting birds would hinder us from taking vows. So we sat with our backs to the white lighthouse. A child came from nowhere and sat with us, silently, throughout the taking of vows, and then disappeared. Yet, Russ assured us, he had checked the boy was not on the boat that departed before we did, nor on the island when we left. 'He was either an angel or an image of Jesus himself, telling us to be like children' he said. I have often wondered what the meaning of that boy was. Does it mean that God is urging us to take forward the experiment of Junior Explorers in each country? Or does it mean that our Way of Life is for the child-like in spirit, not for for big-wigs, know-alls and chatterboxes?

Posted at 09:08am on 13th August 2015
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