How's the view?
I hope you’ve had a chance for rest and relaxation over these lovely summer weeks. We’ve just come back from a fortnight’s holiday – a rail and road trip that took in London and Bradford-on-Avon. Our travels reminded me of a road trip we took around the west of Ireland, and a great story we heard as we sojourned.
We visited Co. Kerry, and a friend who lives in the area offered to give us ‘the locals’ tour’; complete with coastal road detours and short cuts. At one stage we ended up at Peig Sayers' grave. I would think only Irish adults will know of the book called, ‘Peig’. For many years it was the Irish language text book for secondary school pupils. It’s the autobiography of a woman who was a seanchaí (Irish for ‘storyteller’). In the early 1900s, she lived on one of the Blaskets; small islands off the south west coast of Ireland. I know some people long to see the grave of their idols, some visit Elvis’ grave or Jimi Hendrix’s grave. It was an unexpected treat to find myself at Peig’s grave, in a small cliffside graveyard over-looking the Blasket Islands.
The story our tour guide told was about a small boy who also lived on one of the Blaskets. He was making his first ever trip to the mainland. From his perspective on the island, he couldn’t have seen much more than the hill from the mainland shore up to the road, and the brow of a mountain beyond it.
So, this little fella got off the boat, climbed the steep hill for the very first time, and as he got to the top he could see for a few miles; the vaster mountains in the distance. He turned to his father with wide eyed excitement and said, “Isn’t Ireland huge, Daddy!”
The boy hadn’t seen much more than the island he lived on, and so he was wowed by the view from the top of the edge of the mainland; just a few miles further.
|The view of the Blasket Islands from the Kerry coast|
I just love that story, and I think it’s a brilliant picture of my vision of the Kingdom of God. Even with a level of spiritual insight, a lot of the time, we only see what’s in front of us. On occasion, the odd glimpse of a high hill top. Then every so often, God gives a wider view, a further perspective of his kingdom. We think – ‘wow isn’t the kingdom of God huge.’
1 Corinthians 2:9 reminds us that - "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." We’ve only seen beyond the brow of our nearest hill.
When I think again of this story, I wonder if we can apply it to our writing. Is there a horizon we have not yet seen, one we’re not even aware of? Is there some unexplored potential, genre, audience, that, if we could see just a little further, we might be wowed enough to investigate?
There are far more poems, devotions, songs and stories out there than we’ll have time on this earth to write. Let’s travel a bit further, widen our horizons, and explore with expectation the writing possibilities that lie just over the brow of the next hill.