The marketing team behind the rain-gear terminology "Water Resistant" needs to sharpen their vocabulary. As a picket fence resists a hurricane; as beautiful woman resists James Bond; as I resist a Reeses Cup left on the counter, so my "water resistant" jacket withstood the Scottish wind and driving rain.
The group was brother John Turpin, brother in-law Russell Hill, and myself. That Monday, they had flown from Texas to visit me, to explore Scotland and the unique church I was working with.
Now Thursday, we stood halfway up the climb to The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, soaked to the bone and grinning ear to ear. 45 minutes earlier, we had been sitting in a cafe in Portree enjoying hot coffee and the 4 meats that comprise a full Scottish breakfast. Looking out the window at the blustery gray, we talked of heading south; leaving the islands in hope of drier pastures. And now here we were, slopping through the heather in the northernmost part of the isles, nothing between our stinging faces and the North Sea. Let it be known that there was no rational persuasion that changed our minds, no clearing of the sky; just the shrug of the shoulders and the words, "We've come too far not to try".
That was day five in the Highlands. The three of us had climbed some of the wildest landscapes in Scotland, made friends and fools of ourselves with the locals, and would finish that climb with the the Old Man's blackstone castle suddenly materializing out of the mist, looming far over our craning necks (pictured). The next day, we would retreat back to Glasgow for Upper Room Church, a Friday-night gathering of 60 or so Iranian refugees who want to know more about Jesus. There we sang and danced. We ate steaming ghormeh sabzi. We prayed for each others needs and we celebrated the love of Jesus that united us all. The night could be described as divine.
The next day, we toured Edinburgh, perusing the Impressionist paintings at the National Gallery and eating hamburgers. The day after that, we parted ways.
John, Russell and I had spent 5 days adventuring together as friends, building relationships through shared experience. Then we saw the love of Jesus first hand, hugging men and women who spoke a different language but loved the same God. Finally we reflected, allowing the truths we had encountered to marinate before jumping back into the saddle of "regular life".
I have no TED-style revelation to share here. I only know that I want more vacations like this. I know that, and I guess also not to buy a rain jacket in cloudless Austin, TX where "water resistant" sounds full-proof.
Email me if you want to take a trip like this. firstname.lastname@example.org