The Hebridean Islands off Scotland’s West Coast are frequently described as remote by many who live on the Mainland. The Isle of Tiree is about 4 hours by ferry from the Mainland port of Oban and a further 3 hours by coach from Glasgow. As the events of this past week have sadly demonstrated, we may be remote, but we are not removed from either suffering or tragedy.
We live in a global village and a connected world. Whether it be through the more traditional media of newspapers, radio and television, or through social media, Facebook, Twitter and the like, we are aware and moved by national and world events. Sometimes such events have an even deeper impact on an island community. Tragically the Barra family of Eilidh MacLeod lost their daughter in the Manchester bombing while her friend Laura MacIntyre is in hospital with serious injuries.
On an island community, Tiree has only about 650 of a population, most people know one another. Although the pain and range of emotions experienced is no different from those living in the big city, the loss and suffering is felt by the community. In recent times Tiree itself has has known loss and tragedy that has shocked and sadden the whole community.
The sense of community is reflected in the large number who attend the funeral service and continue on to the graveside. However care and concern are expressed in so many other tangible ways.
The Hebrides may be ‘Islands on the Edge’, we may be seen as remote, but we are not removed. We are not removed from joys and sorrows. A close community can have its issues but it also has its great rewards. These are especially experienced in times of tragedy, suffering and loss.
Experience has taught me that there is no easy answer when suffering knocks at your door. Therefore, I am deeply grateful for friends and family, but I am thankful that I have a Friend in Jesus (Christ) who can truly say “I understand” and who gives me permission to grieve and mourn.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’.
Jesus gives this assurance,
“I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again.
Anyone who believes in me,
even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again.
He is given eternal life for believing in me
and shall never perish.”