I’m not much of a photographer and despite years of training there are not words that can adequately surmise our summer in Iceland. But I managed to snap a few photos during our time in the country. I’d like to share them now along with some words of others who carry a pen more eloquently than myself. Their wisdom has echoed in my heart while we’ve been in the country, a reminder to me of how experiencing a new place, a new culture and then attempting to do ministry in said location is always a humbling experience. I carry them with me as we leave today.
So here’s a summary of our time in Iceland, in the best way I know how:
“Perhaps these thoughts of ours will never find an audience
Perhaps the mistaken road will end in a mistake
Perhaps the lamps we light one at a time
will be blown out, one at a time
Perhaps the candles of our lives will gutter out
without lighting a fire to warm us.
Perhaps when all the tears have been shed
the earth will be more fertile
Perhaps when we sing praises to the sun
the sun will praise us in return
Perhaps these heavy burdens
will strengthen our philosophy
Perhaps when we weep for those in misery
we must be silent about miseries of our own
Because of our irresistible sense of mission
We have no choice.”
(Shu Ting, Translated from Chinese by Carolyn Kizer)
My time in Iceland has been informative, humbling, wonderful, educational, inspiring and memorable all at the same time. I hope I had as much as an impact on the people and country as they had on me. Perhaps I did, perhaps I didn’t. My hope for this is just a prayer on the wind of this beautiful place as we leave here today.
I’ll close with sharing the following music video from one of my favorite artists. I saw this video several years ago, when I’d just begun dreaming of coming to Iceland. As it turns out, it was filmed not far from where we spent most of our time while here. And we actually drove through several of these locations and visited some of the sights as you may recognize from one of the pictures above. The song beautifully sums up my time in the country more than I ever could:
“…and at once I knew I was not magnificent
High above the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
I could see for miles, miles, miles.”
Bless Ísland, takk fyrir allt.
(Goodbye Iceland, thanks for everything)