The next morning – early – found us on the slipway at Fionnphort peering at the faint outline of Iona through sheets of rain. And something horrible had happened to that tranquil sea of yesterday. It had turned into a grey heaving mass. When the ferry appeared I watched sick at heart as it pitched and plunged. No, I am not afraid of boats, I’m afraid of drowning…. Poncho or no poncho by the time we board we are soaked to the skin. But we had agreed a plan. This was to be a ‘touch & go’ operation; we would set foot on the pier and get straight back on the ferry, race to Craignure and home to an afternoon Mass at Craig Lodge (thank you Fr Antonio). We had all agreed. How it came to be that 20 nerve-wracking minutes (for me at any rate) later we stood, 3 drenched, freezing cold pilgrims, on Iona pier watching the ferry leave without us is a long story. The info sign then flashed up a weather warning stating the ferry service was now suspended…..
Anyway… moving on, once we were back on speaking terms we decided we should track down Mass in the Prayer House in case we were going to be marooned for the day. God is good. As the final blessing was pronounced, we saw through the chapel’s windows overlooking the Sound, that the ferry had re-started and was on its way back over. We raced down to the slipway turning down Sr Jean’s kind offer of tea. After changing our sopping clothes and grabbing some breakfast at Fionnphort we went in search of a ferry from Craignure. As we arrived there was a ferry waiting with exactly one space left for a small car.
On reflection I am reminded of how God’s ways are not our ways. Thanks to missing the Iona ferry we finished our pilgrimage with Mass on the island where St Columba and those who came after him must have celebrated Mass so many times through the centuries. What could have been more appropriate. Thank you St Columba for setting out on that first journey across the sea to Iona. Thank you for being with us during these days of pilgrimage.
And thank you Dad for letting me follow in your footsteps.