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Friday, 20 March 2009

The Lord Giveth

It has been four days now since I returned from Lundy and I have spent most of that time mulling things over in my mind - during my time there the emotions were raw and intense - right on the surface, but now I am back the island as always feels a million miles from home. Now I am back how do I really feel, and what decision will I make should a job be offered - major decisions need to be made. The following is an amended transcript of the diary I kept during my time there:

Wednesday March 4th

The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows caused as always by my resistance to the path that I seem to have chosen, or more accurately perhaps, the path that seems to have chosen me. As the day for me to return to my beloved Lundy approached, I was besieged with fear and doubt as to whether this truly was the right thing to do, and despite a rocky start to my sojourn on the island, marred by the absence of the island manager, I am more certain than ever that this is indeed the right thing to do.

It is strange how half an hour in the bath can completely change your life, and yet at the moment I am in limbo. It seems that I am waiting for the universe to make my choice, and I am at the mercy of others who hold my fate in their hands. This may sound melodramatic, but it seems that having come this far, and made preparations for a possible life here by making it known to others at home what my intentions and hopes are for a life on the island, I am in the state between states of waiting for things to occur. I suppose everyone who comes to live on the island for a short period or for longer experiences this to different degrees.

Yesterday I worked in the laundry with one of the other islanders. She said that one has to have a reason to be here that goes beyond the job itself. She is not here for the job which is repetitive and routine and not what she wants for the rest of her life, but she is here for the island and the peace that being here brings. I think it would be fair to say that the same is true for virtually all the staff.

Lundy has something indiscernible that no other place I have ever experienced has, the natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water (plus of course Spirit) are completely balanced and in alignment, with the silence so deafening that God can not only be seen, but also heard, in your own footsteps, with each breath that you take, in the whispering of the wind and the crashing of the sea as it pounds against the rocks that make up this barren yet bountiful isle. How do you explain this to anyone has not been to experience the island for themselves - you cannot for descriptions lessen the intensity and words are merely symbols that can never convey a fraction of what lies within ones heart.

What lies within my heart is a yearning so intense and so profound that only being on the island can begin to address. It has become a part of who I am, a part of my blood and of my soul. It has wormed its way in, sneakily and consistently under my skin, until I can no longer tell where the island begins and where I end. Part of the pain that I felt this morning, the day after my first full day of work on the island, in the laundry, came from my own resistance and the shattering of the illusions as to what life and work on the island would really be like. It is far harder than I could have anticipated and I ached from head to foot from lifting heavy bags of linen and cleaning implements, ironing what must have been around 50 sheets if not more. I would never have seen myself doing this work, much less standing in the Tavern delivering meals to peoples tables and lifting a loaded tray from the dishwasher, which in truth is probably not much heavier than one from a conventional household dishwasher. I suppose the difference perhaps is that a domestic one does not need to be emptied and lifted out by hand, and a domestic kitchen floor is around half the size of the one I mopped on Monday night. Still, in time I shall get used to it all.

It is natural to feel overwhelmed when one faces such enormous change as I now do - upping sticks and leaving all that I know for a desolate lump of granite in the midst of the Bristol Channel that has given me so much. This job, if it materialises will mean giving up so much, that it occurs to me this may be the islands way of evening up the scales - the Lord giveth so that he can take away, so they say. The rewards will more than compensate for the life that I may be about to begin.

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