Back to earth with a bump

In the stocks at Hexham

This morning Hilary and I set off for home along the A1(M) but not before one last trip out into Hadrian’s Wall country to the beautiful town of Hexham.

After breakfast and a last bit of shopping, we hit the long 150 mile stretch of road down to Newark and then onto the A46 for the last run home to Leicester.

Actually, it was a pretty smooth run and on the way we listened to some stories together – Jacqueline Wilson’s ‘Cat Mummy’ and a retelling of The Lion King.  Interestingly, both are stories about coping with death.

In the first, Verity tries to secretly mummify her cat Mabel in the wardrobe, having been given the impression by her family that death is something that is too upsetting to talk about.  Her mother died when she was a baby and only at the end of the story does her father begin to realize that for both their sakes he needs to talk about her.  I was reminded of the inspiring programme earlier this year about Rio Ferdinand and his family.

The Lion King too is a story of bereavement and a kind of ‘coming of age’ journey that the young Simba goes on to become the king after feeling to blame for his father’s death.  In the end, he returns from exile to find that his pride are starving.  The reality is hard for him to bear.

Arriving home felt a bit like coming back to earth with a bump, the stresses and strains of my normal routines beginning to creep back into my consciousness, anticipation of a packed diary this coming week and my next trip to Pittsburgh coming up soon (I might blog more about that another time), facing the unpacking and sorting that needs doing, the jobs I left behind that need to be picked up again.  Twenty one phone messages, a pile of post and countless emails to wade through … but maybe not just yet.  There is nothing that can’t wait until Monday!

The long road home

The journey I have been on between Ascension and Pentecost continues on the long road home.  It’s here that some of those memorable moments and thought provoking encounters will bear fruit in the days and weeks and months to come.  It’s important I take the time I need to remember where I’ve been and what I have achieved in Andy’s memory, to look back at the photos and my blog.

The beautiful ceiling at Carlisle Cathedral where my journey began

That’s why things like certificates and T-shirts are important.  Remembering where we’ve been when we get home from time away is often difficult.  The photos just don’t quite capture the mood and spirit of that special moment or even the journey itself.

There is some evidence that Dante’s contemporaries genuinely believed he had been on a physical journey through Hell to Heaven.  Once he had written about it, people avoided him in the streets!  As the Pilgrim arrives at his final destination and comes face to face with God, words fail him too but he recalls the sensation, the love that moved him and held him spinning like a wheel (or dare I say it, a fidget-spinner!) in equilibrium – moving constantly while also at rest.  This is the love within which all other loves are held, the same love that moves the sun and the other stars.