In various ways these two words ‘Challenging Conditions’ sum up ‘Life on Tiree’ at the present time. For many there is the excitement that surrounds Christmas, but for others their circumstances are challenging. Living on Tiree, in contrast to the Mainland, we are often more conscious of one another’s joys and sorrows. Blessings and buffetings are two words that come to mind. Paul writing to the church in first century Corinth says, ‘Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs.’
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According to the latest weather forecast, there would appear to be challenging conditions ahead. With only four more possible sailings until Christmas, many of them are looking extremely doubtful because of wind and wave conditions. However, forecasts can and do change as Thursday’s arrival of ‘Lord of the Isles’ proved. In spite of the forecast, Gott Bay, although not quite a millpond, was relatively calm.
The past week began with clear views across the waters to neighbouring islands, many of them sporting snow capped mountain peaks. Ben More on Mull, The Cullins on Rum and the Paps of Jura all were seasonally adorned. There have been high winds, driving rain, grey skies and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Blessings and Buffetings. It can be exhilarating walking into the strong winds, but it can also prove challenging for others.
The school concert on Thursday once again revealed the great talent there is on the island and spoke highly of the dedication of the school staff. This coming Tuesday, the school term comes to end with the School Christmas Service at Heylipol. Tomorrow, Sunday, the island’s carol service is held at Heylipol, to be followed later in the week with a Watch Night Service and Christmas Morning Service at Baugh – in the newly renovated premises.
Christmas parties. Christmas Meals. Tables laden with food. These all present another kind of challenge, especially when appreciating the kindness of others and yet having to watch the waistline. This is ‘Life on Tiree’.