Thought for the week – 18.07.19

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Staying on Islay recently, I took a day to explore neighbouring Jura.

There were some doubts, driving towards the ferry at Port Askaig in miserable, pouring rain, but determinedly I pressed on.

Crossing over to Jura, it wasn’t a lot better. With incessant rain and low cloud, I could see almost nothing. As I drove up the east side of the island, it felt as if the car was covered with a blanket. Far from seeing the island, I could hardly see the sides of road.

Feeling that the whole day was a washout and a waste of time, I drove back down into Craighouse, when something caught my attention in the water. I saw a little head, swimming towards shore.

Realising it was an otter, I watched as it climbed onto a rock. Once on the seaweed, it was almost invisible until it moved. For 30 minutes I stood transfixed, watching it play, clean itself and climb in and out of the water.

For most of the day, there was nothing to see, and then suddenly there was a magical moment when everything changed, and the true wonder of what was around me became apparent.

The Genesis creation story tells us God looked at everything He had made and saw that it was very good. It’s tempting to add all sorts of ‘buts’ after that. It was good, but people damaged it with their greed and selfishness, or with their failure to protect their environment.

It was good, but thinking they knew better, people messed things up. Those additions might be true, but at least for today, they aren’t the point.

For most of my day on Jura, I couldn’t even see God’s creation, let alone appreciate it. But at least for a little while, when the cloud lifted, I could not help but notice that it was good. It was very good.

Richard Baxter,

Fort William: Duncansburgh MacIntosh and Kilmonivaig.