As we crossed into Scotland from England the temperature dropped and heavy cloud cover simulated my mood. I was nervous, pessimistic, and afraid all at the same time.

This is because after being away for one year you grow homesick, after another you become sentimental (even patriotic), the next step is nostalgia, and finally disconnect. Disconnect is when you disconnect from your history, your past life may as well have happened in a galaxy far, far away as it all begins to feel much like a misty dream.

Did it really happen?

It had been a decade since I first boarded a flight from Glasgow airport and it felt as though I was now quite literally returning to a distant galaxy.

 

Back To Scotland

Within one day all my fears were removed. I visited Cumbrae, the island I grew up on, and caught up with some school friends. Life had continued and most of my friends are now scattered across the country, or globe in some cases.

For 18 years I had walked alongside some of my friends and never got to see who they would become. Now I saw them all-grown-up and independent. It was encouraging to see they’d all found their gifts and become awesome people wherever they were.

Alas when I visited YWAM Scotland, the place where my now-life had started for me, I felt like a stranger in a foreign land. All those I had once known, who had believed in me and inspired me, had long since left. It was a reminder that my time in Scotland has now passed. This, in turn, was a real point of closure for me.

If you’ve ever left home and not returned you will know how powerful closure can be. My brief time in Scotland was much like finishing a book that’s sat unfinished on your bedside table for years. It’s now complete and finally lessons can be learnt in reflection.

1 Scotland is a beautiful country and a truly spectacular place to live (despite the numerous wind farms).

 

2 Life moves in seasons, some last a few months and some many years. All seasons have a begining, middle, & an end, once they’re over you can’t manipulate them back into existance.

 

3 The past paves the way for the future and my reality is now as a family man, pastor, and overgrown kid in New Zealand. That is my season and I’ll do the best at it I can because it too will pave the way for me into the future.

Moving Onwards

Despite finding few friends around I did have time to visit my youth leader who was a catalyst to my future life in Christian ministry. She was as passionate as she ever was and still leads youth ministry throughout Scotland.

One of my chief aims in returning back to Scotland was to try and impress my Kiwi wife with Scotland’s beautiful scenery (a hard task indeed), but I did succeed. After travelling into the Highland foothills we got the best of the weather and captured some amazing moments.

My trip has now come to an end.

When I first left Scotland I was faced with a decision to stay and study or to leave these lovely hills behind and follow a road less travelled; the life of a pilgrim, some would say. I probably chose New Zealand out of curiosity and a love of the unknown, but in the end I’ll never know what could have been if I stayed.

Whatever the case I now leave Scotland behind, content to truly leave Scotland behind. Maybe I’ll come back, maybe not, but I’m grateful for my history there and happy I chose the path I did a decade ago, I’d do it again. Robert Frost says it best I think;

 

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– The Road Not Taken

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