It’s been a little less than a month since I got back from Scotland and I realized I’ve never shared much of the trip with you. Several folks who were part of the trip have blogs and they pretty much covered the day-to-day part of it, so I won’t rehash that, but I will try and share with you my experiences.
First off, if you ever go to a foreign country, you need to stay with local people. I was incredibly fortunate to stay with John and Mandy and their 3 kids, Jack, Ruth, and Catherine, also known as Fred. Yep, Fred, which I thought was pretty cute. Oh, there was also Mog the cat and Molly the dog. Of course, staying in a house with a dog was an added bonus.
The neat part about staying with these fine folks was that I was immediately treated like one of the family. I’ll admit that I was a bit concerned about staying in someone’s house for various silly reasons, but within 5 minutes of meeting them, I knew I was in the right place.
I’ve also got to mention that I could not have been with a better bunch of people for the entire trip. The teams from Jackson and Scotland were awesome and we all got along really well. We spent hours and hours together and it really was a pleasure to get to know these folks.
So…Scotland…If I could get a job in or around Kirkcaldy and get to spend time with my Scotland friends, I’d move tomorrow. It was that kind of experience for me. Scotland, for me, is like summer camp used to be. I loved summer camp. I couldn’t wait to get there and didn’t want to leave. I looked forward to getting up in the morning because I knew the day would be filled with good things. That’s how it was in Scotland.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was doing something worthwhile and meaningful. Getting up wasn’t a chore, I didn’t dread the events of the day, I didn’t worry about having to listen to people whine about shit I just didn’t care about. Scotland also forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and do things I don’t like to do…pray out loud in a group, knock on doors, talk openly about religion to others. And you wanna know the weird part? I didn’t die from it, I didn’t break out in warts, and I didn’t end up looking stupid. And…I liked it. Well…most of it.
I’ll admit, Dear Reader, that the first day was hard for me. I just sort of wandered around because I really wasn’t sure what to do. My head started thinking that maybe I’d made a mistake, maybe I shouldn’t have come. It appeared, to me that everyone else had been assigned tasks and I was just kind of left hanging. The other part of me, the smarter part, told me to quit whining and go do something. Just jump in and start…so I did. I don’t remember what it was that I did, but from that point on, I knew I was in the right place.
The one thing I didn’t get to do was go visiting with Neil, who is the pastor of the Kirkcaldy Free Church. Neil (and Andy too) is one of those guys that you want to be friends with. He’s that guy from high school or college that everybody wanted to hang out with. I think this is why he’s such a great pastor…and why I think Andy will be good too. It’s the reason I really like the pastors at my church. They are people I can relate to as guys, who just happen to be pastors. Anyway…I wandered off the topic. I wanted to go into the Council Housing (the government housing) and watch Neil interact with the people. I don’t know why I wanted to do this, and never really shared it with anyone, but I think it would have been good for me. Maybe next time.
So. I truly believe that I was meant to go on this trip. I don’t know the reasons for feeling that way, but it feels right. In many ways, Scotland was a life-altering experience for me. It taught me that being outside my comfort zone won’t kill me. It taught me that there really is evil in the world and it will do whatever it can to distract you from doing what is right and good. It fueled my desire to travel and meet other people. It allowed me to meet and spend time with some truly incredible people.
I miss my new friends. I miss a truly beautiful country. And I miss doing something meaningful.