As my lovely and faithful companion—more commonly known as a journal—tells me, it is day nineteen of the journey, and life has settled into a regular rhythm. That is, if you can call daily activities like climbing mountains and exploring dungeons regular. I think it is a lifestyle that I can get used to. Thursday involved an excursion to St. Andrews, a picturesque town by the sea, made famous most recently by the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met at the university there. Some of the highlights included exploring the ruins of the castle and cathedral, walking around one of the oldest golf courses in the world, and stumbling across a man sitting on the beach playing the bagpipes. Today’s excitement consisted of venturing into the rugged highlands for some hiking, a day well spent with breathtaking views, good exercise, and great company.
Being a foreigner takes you on an interesting ride. It’s been neat to experience it with a group of people that are all in the exact same boat, living and navigating life in this new land together. Some of my family can trace its roots to Ireland and Scotland, and I admire their vision and courage as I take on a new life in the lands that they left so many years ago.
Recently, I have been impressed and refreshed by the simplicity of life since leaving America. I have enough possessions to fill a small suitcase and a backpack, a very simple flat with stark white walls, no wifi, and exactly one drawer of space in our refrigerator. Everything is downsized and refocused. While simplicity is the antithesis of American culture, I find that it’s hard to make a mess out of a life without clutter. The longer I’m here, the less it makes sense to me why we willingly confuse and complicate our lives by continually adding. That unwarranted stress takes away from the simple gifts we have all around us, like fresh air to breathe, a bed to sleep in, or the delicious warmth of the sun.
Today is the longest day of the year, especially so here at 56 degrees north, where morning comes early and nighttime falls late. The sky is never quite dark; even in the middle of the night there is a faint glow on the horizon that illuminates the earth, something I find wondrous. In the mindset of simplicity, something as common as the light of the sun is enough to make the heart leap for joy. For it is within simplicity that the common becomes miraculous.
The song I will leave you with today is an old favorite in honor of the miracle of light. I hope you enjoy it along with the other common miracles in your life.
Grace and peace,