A few months ago I knew I needed a new challenge. How about visiting ten countries in my first year back in biking? (BMW R1200gs, 2008 for those who care.) I’ve just done twelve in twelve months: France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. The last seven took me 3,500 miles in eleven days. Big cities, tiny communities, and vast areas of empty space.
But that isn’t the point.
I needed to get out on a limb, to do something different and comparatively unusual. You can see southern Norway for half the price it cost and in much more comfort. I slept in a tiny tent each night. But out on a limb something else happens inside. Each of us needs to find a deeper solitude that has no relation with loneliness or isolation. I needed to remind myself that I’m comfortable inside my own skin. I needed to drink deep of something other than coffee and red wine – or even water. I needed to reconnect somehow, to renew my relationship with the word ‘play’.
Lisbotn Fiord is, in one place, an entire kilometre from the top of the fiord sides to the water’s surface, a sheer drop. The wall continues for another half kilometre underwater. And at the end of the fiord, after a 30 mile road trip over the mountain pass, the road stops. Dead. At Lisbotn. You wait for the ferry. No one told me that the 7.00am ferry was passengers only, so I was up bright and early. But the car ferry comes at 3.00pm. I waited for eight hours at ‘the end of the world’.
And something happened. Staring down the ’empty’ fiord, miles from anywhere and no where to go, all day and nothing to do (except wash my socks and stare at that fiord – the tourist season finishes early in Lisbotn) I felt that amazing connection with the one I know as ‘God’ again. Sensed ‘his’ presence (he’s not male or female). Sensed his approval. Sensed his unconditional love. Reminded myself, as I stared at the fiord, just how big the world is and how comparatively small I am, and how little that matters when you belong.
Of course I might be totally misled, with God not there, and me not mattering… but in Lisbotn that didn’t matter either. Such is the nature of any ‘faith’, and mine is strong enough not to have to be defended. It was wonderful to be small, wonderful to remind myself that I’m ‘comfortable in my own skin’, that I don’t need to be ‘big’. I just stared in wonder at those huge rock faces for a day and loved being small.
How small are you? Great isn’t it.