We are just back from our annual Aoradh Wilderness retreat. This has become the highlight of my year for a whole variety of reasons; the chance to be deliberately reflective and prayerful, to share a beautiful place with others, to make new friendships and to reconnect with old friends.
A few days before I went I was rather dreading going though- I was extremely busy, chasing myself in all directions to try to pull things together for work, for various cricket matches and for the plans for the weekend. Several people were not able to come leading to the last minute scramble to make sure transport arrangements were viable. All of this meant that actually all I really wanted to do was to spend the weekend at home in front of the TV. However, the island cured all of that…
This year I had decided to give Cara a try- an island just below Gigha- but the weather meant that a risky transfer from boat to tender to beach was just not sensible, so we defaulted to an old friend, Eilean Mor in the MacCormaig islands. I have been there many times now and as it is such a tiny island I have come to know every inch of it. As Crawford said however, after the slight disappointment of not going somewhere new, this familiarity helped some of us to wind down and just settle into the lovely place.
The weather was foul for some of our time there too so the fact that Eilean mor has a bothy turned out to be something of an advantage. The other low point of the weekend for me was that I decided (for the first time) to take an air bed. I was the oldest there after all so I felt I had earned the right. Unfortunately I failed to ensure it was not punctured and like my dreams of comfort, it surely was. Not even a valiant attempt to mend it with melted plastic was able to solve the problem.
The weekend was really wonderful however- I laughed so much it hurt and had some really lovely conversations, both earthly and heavenly. There was much profanity, no small amount of flatulence and food was abundant. The otter was glimpsed by most, we took in a sea eagle or two and our wildlife experts had much to inform us of.
Thanks friends for our community and our shared journey- particularly those who traveled far (in a breakdown truck!)