What does it mean to be in the real world?

August 12, 2012

What does it mean to be in the real world?

A frequent question asked on Iona when your leaving date approaches is, what will you return to in the real world? Which naturally leads to a discussion of what is the real world. And why does it seem that the real world is anywhere other than where you are? So upon leaving Iona I am taking a couple days holiday and traveling to Fort William, where I will receive a bit of reintroduction to the real world. So far the principle differences seem to be television, people that you don't recognize, keys, sleeping in a room for one, traffic and the noise that accompanies it. And oddly enough I have found each comforting in their own odd way. I am not much of a television fan, but I spent the better part of an hour just staring at the many images on the screen while I continuously changed the channels. I spent two hours sitting out on the beautifully groomed terrace of my bed and breakfast listening and watching to the cojoined activities of the steady stream of traffic and the steady gurgle of the stream nearby. In my walking about the town I was stunned to not recognize anyone since on Iona you typically know all the people, and can distinguish day trippers from those lodging on the island. It must admit that it was strange to sleep in a room occupied by only myself. No caphony of snores to join to mine. But none of that has been quite as entertaining as my readjusting to keys. How many times will I lock myself out of my room because I have forgotten my key? Answer: often enough that the young woman at reception just offers to left me in my room on the assumption that I have yet again left my key in the room. But in the real world, like Iona, we need to recognize God in all the variety of forms in which God may appear. As I discovered in India, one of the forms in which God appears for me is hot and cold pressurized water. And while that is somewhat tongue in cheek, more and more I am coming to realize that the thin places we may seek, that I am seeking, are the places where we are most often. It is the real world that blinds us to God's activity in those places. So I am going to continue to seek out thin places, those places where the veil between heaven and earth is pulled back, but I am extending that search into the real, day to day world, seeking what God is up to in our midst. Watch for thin places.