Picture © Angus Mathieson … travelling over Struie Hill, Sutherland
It’s that time of year when folk are either about to go on holiday, or are just back from holidays. You may be looking back, or looking forward. Travel is a wonderful thing, and at one time people went on what was known as The Grand Tour – not three petrolheads touring around the world, as in the series on Amazon Prime – but a tour of the great cities of Europe. For a certain class of society, it was thought to be an essential part of their education. Anthony Bourdain, an American writer on travel and food, has this to say….
Travel … leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart and on your body. You take something with you… Hopefully you leave something behind.
All too often it’s only after a journey is over, and it’s some months later, that you realise how travel has affected you. My sense, from being involved with folk in different places over a long number of years, is that while travel is enjoyable, life itself is a journey. Excuse my lapsing into cheesiness… the X Factor is still some way off, but I do believe that we are changed by what happens around us as well, in our everyday lives, as well as in any wider travel that we may be fortunate to enjoy.
For folk involved in Go For It projects, monitoring and evaluation are second nature. One concept for evaluation is called the theory of change; and what is also true is that change is probably the one unchangeable in our world.
We all need to have somewhere that we can call home; somewhere that we can return to, to feel rooted, hopefully to feel safe, and to get a sense of perspective.
Sometimes that homecoming will be painful and will challenge us; sometimes it will be a gentle and good experience to come home. We can all benefit from stopping to reflect; stopping to pray; and stopping to give thanks, even if we’re only able to give thanks for the smallest of blessings.
Whatever this summer (writing in the middle of heavy rain showers…. – in August!) has given you; whatever it still holds for you; may you be blessed and able to stop and give thanks. T.S. Eliot was a poet who wrote these words:
We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
About the Author
Rev Angus Mathieson is Partnership Development Secretary in the Church of Scotland’s Ministries Council and an ex-officio Committee member of the Church of Scotland’s Go For It Fund. Angus also attends Carrick Knowe church in Edinburgh, who are using Go For It funding to provide affordable family activities for those with young children, including Cooking Classes, Community Gardening, Dinner and Movie Nights, plus Arts and Crafts.
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