dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Like a mighty river flowing

on September 27, 2012

Wick has an amazing Heritage Centre, which leads the visitor through the interesting history of the town – without the boring bits! No glass cases with bits of dusty fossil! Instead, rooms furnished in the characteristic style of the old times, a fabulous Edwardian costume display, the wonderful 3-generation Johnston photograpflowinghive, and lots, just lots about fishing.

For me, two things stand out. A six-minute video showing a herring drifter arrive in Wick harbour, unload and its catch gutted and packed by the fisher lassies – and all so close to the camera that I could really see what was going on. Very useful back-up for the novel!

The second was the reception I received, at reception! The first lady on duty turned out to be the mother of two Christian friends from when I first came to the Lord. Lots of catching up needed there. The other two ladies on duty knew me too – one I had worked alongside before I went to university. Her sister had beeen in my class as school…Again lots of catching up.

I took the long way back to my sister’s, through the main streets of the town, to give me thinking time.

Everything looked and felt so familiar – yet was subtly different. Some shops had closed, new ones taken their place. But the solid bridge that links the two sides of town remains. I stopped and looked out to sea.

The river is quite shallow at this point, but brown and peaty as a salmon river should be. And down to the sea the water goes. Except the seaweed clinging to the rocks at the side of the river tells me that the tide must come in, carrying salt water and seaweed.

There is something of the eternal and the continuous about the sea. Yet in life, we sometimes behave as if we live in the real-life bit and everything else is like the tv: when you’re not watching, when you’re not there, it switches off. Nothing happens.

Maybe this is a mechanism to protect us from sensory overload! Or maybe it’s a symptom of our intrinsic self-centredness!

But it teaches me I don’t live on Planet Dorothy, or even Planet East Anglia. In truth I don’t live on Rich Western Planet, or even (take the leap with me!) Planet Earth.

I live in God’s Kingdom, which is much bigger, wider and more welcoming than imaginable. And I live on it alongside all those folk I had relegated to the box labelled “past” or “back home” or “back then”. Because living in God’s Kingdom means living in the eternal and continuous now, alongside everyone belonging to it from the beginning of time to the end of time. “Like a mighty river flowing…”

It’s the only place to be.

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