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June 12, 2012

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Nov. 7, 2010

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With a Heart of Gratitude
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Unto Us a Calf is Born
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Carole’s Memorial Bench

  Pilgrams on the journey  
  posted October 28, 2010  

Those between whom there is love shall never really be put asunder - not though flesh divide them, not though seas separate them, not though colour and religion segregate them. For they are one in spirit, and at the end shall be reunited.

A Celtic Liturgy for Marriage

Memorial benches can be found all over the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. You come across them along single-track roads and walking paths. They invite a good sit and conversation while at the same time offering a particular view of the beauty that surrounds you.

On the way to visit Lindisfarne Castle this morning, I came upon two men refinishing a bench with a dedication to Carole Upton - Who loved to come to this island. I was eager to know if they were restoring the other benches in this area or just this one which might have special meaning for them.

The refinishers at work were her husband and grandson. Carole and her husband began coming to Lindisfarne in 1990. It became a place for family holidays and celebrations. When she become ill with cancer in 2000, she told her beloved husband that when she died she wanted a bench placed on the Holy Island not only in her memory but as an invitation for others to sit and enjoy the beauty of the place that had nourished her. When she died in 2006, her husband arranged for the placement of the bench and the plaque. Now, at least twice a year he comes with members of the family to spend a night or two on the island, refinish the bench and celebrate her life. In this place Carole’s husband feels very close to her and to memories of their thirty-six years of life together.
For they are one in spirit, and at the end shall be reunited.

When I walked back from my tour of the castle the two refinishers were gone. Two women were sitting on the bench, sharing a tin of biscuits and conversation while taking in the stunning view. Pilgrimage takes all manner of form on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.


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