Sailing east into the morning sun on a calm sea, with Ireland behind me, I am grateful and make a prayer of thanksgiving for all who have blessed this past month from the moment I arrived in Dublin at the beginning of August until leaving it today. My friend and my friend! Family and all whom I encountered inbetween. Kind people who speak kind words, the sort who build up rather than pull down. That was the quality of this time.
I asked the girls what were the highlights of their summer. They said, "everything!" - having had a great time. I too could say there were a number of special moments but I also like to name specific experiences.
A different kind of experience came when I was welcomed into the home of my Camino companions and their two sons - one aged four years and the other four weeks.
The uniqueness of this was being with a baby so young for such a long period, observing him develop day by day, being trusted to hold him and being trustworthy in this time of our shame. He learned to be at rest in my arms, feeling safe enough to fall asleep and, as time went on he seemed to see me and made those lovely baby noises to me, smiling.
It was as if God had come into my arms to remind me of who He is and who I am, for I too rest in His arms. A safe place for me to be and I slept like a child, protected from the storms.
This is one of the treasures I hold in the earthen vessel of my being as I return from fallow land to a new season in the vineyard of the Lord, as we say.
Departure and arrival are enfolded in fire and water like a prophecy of what is to come, inviting me to trust God like the little baby trusted me.
The sun that rose and shone on the morning over Dublin Bay shines again so beautifully in its setting over wheat fields as I get closer to my Hastings home.
And the bottle green sea is clear, pure and perfectly still where a woman in her deck chair continues knitting, even as the night closes in.
All is well and all will be well, all manner of things as Julian of Norwich might say.