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RENEWAL LEAVE UPDATE #9

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At the summit of Arthur’s Seat overlooking

Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.

We have now entered a new phase of renewal leave as Jennifer and I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to prepare for hiking the West Highland Way. We arrived in Scotland on Friday and spent a couple of days exploring Edinburgh (one of the best cities in the world in my humble opinion). We spent time walking the Royal Mile, touring Edinburgh Castle, and enjoying the local cuisine (and no, not haggis, if you’re wondering).

 

Of course, being the Kaylors, we also worked in a hike in the city’s Holyrood Park which took us to the summit of Arthur’s Seat, the highest point, where we had a spectacular view of the city and the Firth of Forth. We also had a chance to meet some folks along the way, including some from Colorado. On Sunday, we attended two church services: an early communion service at St. Paul’s and St. George’s Scottish Episcopal Church (which the people lovingly refer to as “P’s and G’s” and then the late morning service at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church. We were greeted warmly at both and had communion twice (never a bad thing). Indeed, the hospitality and warmth we have received across the board here in Scotland has been marvelous. For a place sometimes known for its scratchy clothes and scratchy people, we have experienced nothing but the best everywhere we’ve been.

 

One of the many beautiful views we experienced on

our first day hiking the West Highland Way.

 

 

 

We took the Sunday afternoon train to Glasgow and then up to Milngavie, where the West Highland Way begins. The Way is a 96-mile (or 97-mile depending on who is doing the counting) trail that runs all the way up to Fort William in the north. We set out Monday morning and had a marvelous first day of hiking—a 12-mile warmup for the bigger days to come. The fields and rolling hills felt a lot to us like western Pennsylvania, which is where a lot of Scots settled in the mid-18th century. Surely it must have felt like home to them (minus the extra heat and humidity and then apocalyptic snow in the winter.).

 

 

My goal for this part of renewal leave is to image this hike as a kind of metaphor for the spiritual journey and life transition. I think of it a lot like John Bunyan’s idea for writing “A Pilgrim’s Progress”—that what happens along the way has a lot to teach us about our own spiritual journeys. I have felt God’s presence in a powerful way during this last weeks, including in dreams and in the various people we have encountered. It will take quite a while to process it all, but I’m looking forward to doing so. Many of the people hiking the West Highland Way with us are in transitions of their own, and we look forward to more conversations with those we meet as we hike and as we hang out at the pub in the evening.1b37cc50 2e57 4daa 9582 3576397133bd 640x480

 

As I write this, we are literally cooling our heels in a lovely B&B called the Braeside Inn in the tiny village of Drymen. The internet here is a bit “dodgy” as the locals like to say, so more updates will be coming later (with pictures).

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and for the gift of this time. I feel like I am really being renewed and reinvented in many ways and I look forward to returning to TLUMC with a renewed purpose and excitement about the future. I am finding little lessons and images that grab my attention daily, and having time to consider deeper questions and ponder God’s presence is immensely helpful. There will be many more stories to tell along the Way!



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