While on the Isle of Eigg, I had an eye-opening lesson on the rewards of faith. Although many of us might profess a faith in God or a higher power, how many of us would be willing to act on it? How many of us would truly pray, ‘Guide me Lord and I will follow’ and then do just that?
The Isle of Eigg is my personal choice as a place of restoration. It is sublimely beautiful. It offers within nature what is most popular about Scotland. You get thistle, heather, ferns and foliage which changes to beautiful autumnal colours in the fall. You get the crags and huge rocks and lots of wild scenery. There is hardly any light pollution so you get an abundance of stars at night and beautiful sunrises and sunsets and sometimes (if you’re lucky) the aroura borealis. You also get migratory birds of various breeds and many sea animals. You get all that and the sea as well with majestic views of other islands. It is truly paradise….
Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong like the time a hiker broke her ankle while she was on the Sgurr and they had to get a helicopter to rescue her. I can’t help thinking that it could have been worse. I don’t know the full story but she was lucky. Somehow, someone knew where she was and that she was hurt. When I was there nearly three weeks ago, I was on my own during off-peak season. Kids were in school so there were very few vacationers on the island. Therefore, when I chose to do some hiking and broke my ankle, no one would know. If I got lost, I would pretty much stay lost for some time…maybe having to spend the night on an area of grazing land…with cows and well…cow pats. Not a pleasant thought but even more unpleasant is the possibility of falling off a cliff. I don’t like heights much so it’s no surprise I guess that thoughts would run through my head such as, ‘If I fell off the cliff, how long would it take before they found my body?’ I am a bit embarass to admit this but I confess I thought of this a wee bit too much. So much so, that even in the midsts of beautiful scenery, I felt a bit of tightness in my chest and I walked very very carefully in some places. I didn’t want to fall knee deep in cow manure and break my ankle. I especially did not want to fall off a cliff.
I was on on a quest. Ever since my first visit to Eigg, I had known about this Holy well. It was on a map of Eigg which I saw on the wall in Tigh Eilidh. Not many people on Eigg seem to know much about it or cared. I had vowed that one day I would find it.
So one my second day on Eigg which was a Sunday, I thought it would be a good day to look for the well. I knew which direction to head towards but didn’t have a route planned. After about 5 or 6 miles walk, I lost confidence and assumed that I was going in the wrong direction so I decided to postpone looking for the well and just do some exploring. My anxious thoughts were agitating just below the surface so I asked God to guide my steps. All I meant was, ‘Please don’t let me get lost, hurt or step in any boggy, sh**-y mess.’ I just wanted to be safe and not have any mishaps. The weather was beautiful and I was happy just to walk and explore a bit….safely.
I came out from the woods, and down the path and had an instinct to go through a gate into an open safer looking area. The weather app on my phone said I was at Galmisdale. After walking only a short way, this was the view that met my eyes:
I realized that God had something better in store than just keeping me safe. He wanted to calm my spirit, to teach me to trust him more and simply to bless me with a gift of staggering beauty and wonder. He wanted to awe me. I was. His love never ceases to awe me.