This is something you do not forget. This is something you seek out again and again. There are grander places where God may be sought, soaring steeples, cathedral space filled with divine music and unearthly light, canyons that split the earth down to its core, painted ceilings where God creates all. It is easy at times to find him in the presence of the faithful, especially in the unheated, holy structures where they worship in threadbare clothes. Iona, too has its faithful though they often come from all over the world.
On Iona, God walks the waves. He leaves footprints in the sand. He cries out from screaming gulls circling above. His breath is carried on the wind. He is that close. When God is absent, I know that like, “the bay that turns its back on Ireland, that I am the one whose back is turned. There is no place where he is not. There is only our lack of sight.
For, all my faltering in darkness, I never really lose the light. A friend told me to carry these days of summer on Iona into the long winter nights. I think of Iona, but not often enough. Sometimes, just when I am about to fall asleep, I think of the holy island, and wonder what time it is on Iona. It is always four a.m.