Travelling on from Mahon Falls I started a new voice recording that fills in a little of the background of the why and how of my journey to Mahon Falls and what happened there. I din’t have my map when talking so the abbey is Bridgetown Abbey just outside Castletownroche, not near Tallow.
“So I was travelling towards Waterford but in a very meandering kind of a way. I went to an abbey, I went into Dungarven, and I’d just left Dungarven and I was meandering along, obviously going too slow for the rest of the traffic. I was going 80 they wanted to go 100. They were not pleased and I saw this sign that said “Mahon Falls” and I thought…
“D’you know let’s go look at a waterfall”
So I did. Now it was 11 kilometres and a few wrong turns of course cos it wouldn’t be me driving if there wasn’t wrong turns and my SatNav was going crazy and well eventually, well I stopped a few times to take photos cos it was just so awesome and beautiful and the red or russet tones on the hillsides, on the mountains. It was just awesome and there were some sheep who wanted their photo taken. And they were like saying “pick me” and there were some really weird sheep, they were painted red, but all over so they looked like little red sheep. So took some photos of them but from a distance.
I arrived at the car park of Mahon Falls, now I don’t know what I was thinking but I got out of the van expecting I suppose that the waterfall was going to be there, so I was thinking a bit like, Torc, you can park and then a few hundred yards and the waterfall is there. And it wasn’t. And I was a bit cross.
But I thought well I’ll walk to the first rise and I’ll take some photos and that’ll be fine. And as I was walking to the first rise and thinking about all the beautiful things that had happened to me that day. I mean there was a time, I was at the abbey, it is an abbey near Tallow, Bridgewater perhaps?
I was at this abbey, and I was just so, it was just so quiet and I just thought, I just wish and I know I am travelling down to Waterford cos I’m working tomorrow, but wouldn’t it be great if I could have two days. Wouldn’t it be great to have two days. And then I got to Fermoy. Went to supervalu and got my provisions. So frugality out the window, strawberries, raspberries and celery for the two lunches and bananas, apples, tomatoes and satsumas for dinner.
I was talking to the woman at the checkout and I was saying how that I was travelling down to Waterford because I was working the next day and I was having such a blast getting down there. Because I was taking photos, I was enjoying myself, just soaking in the views, and praying to God and just being still, and not doing … really … The driving, I never count that as doing, it is just a way of travelling whether I am walking or running, or driving it is just a method of moving.
So I got out to the car park at supervalu, and before I’d gone into supervalu, I thought I’d lost my phone, I thought I’d left my phone at home, and I was thinking oh right okay, I’ve left my phone at home, when I get to the hotel, I’ll click onto the wifi and send Sean a quick text message, pick up my phone and look after it for the next days, if anyone wants me, tell them I’m not there.
And so I really thought I’d lost my phone, or left it at home. I looked one more time for my phone. And found it, And I put it back down again, …. and it rang. And it was a number that didn’t tell me who it was, and so I thought well I’ll answer this it might be a delivery guy. And it was Ruth. All apologies, because the clinic is cancelled. I told her I was happy it was cancelled. I am still going to Waterford and I am still going to enjoy myself.
So I find myself at Mahon Falls, And I am walking and thanking God, because, my one dayday, my mini vacation day, had now become a mini retreat. It is just me and God.
And nobody else.
And I need that time because. I am having the collywobbles. And I am not acceptable is coming again. I’m not clean enough is coming again. Why would anybody want me to lead a congregation is coming again.
And so I was thanking God and I was walking, to the first rise, I’m going to take photos, cos I was ill prepared. I was not dressed to go walking. I get to the first top of the rise. And I look down and the waterfall seems ever so far away, but I’ve a zoom camera so I took a zoomed picture.
But I felt called to go to the next rise. And everytime I did this and did it a number of times, I would stop at the top of the rise and I thought I would take a picture here cos, always looking for sermon illustrations and small group illustrations. I’ll take a picture and that’ll do fine. Water cascading down waterfall. But as I got closer, the last rise before I came to the rivery bit. I noticed that some of the water was in the main part of the waterfall was falling differently to the rest. And this started to spur me on. Now bear in mind heeled boots, skirt, not dressed to go across a river. No matter how many stepping stones there are. And when you include my balance issue, – not prepared at all. And expensive camera, very not prepared.
So I got to the first bit of the river. It was stream, it wasn’t a river. But it was water and it was moving and there were stones in it. And I am looking at it and I realised that I never actually go across these things unless someone’s with me in case I can’t back and they have to help me back. I never do them on my own. Even if I was wearing trainers, I would always have someone with me. I can’t do it on my own. I have this fear of getting stuck. Fear of not being able to get back to where I was, and I will climb any stone, any rock, any hill, as long as someone’s with me, who can help me down cos I’m, not very good at getting back down again. My balance goes all over the place, more so when I am coming back down. But these were wee little stepping stones, and I’m thinking will I won’t I?
What will I do? And I looked up at the waterfall and I just couldn’t get the right picture, not matter how much zoom I put on it I couldn’t work out why some of it was slower or different than the rest. So very wobbly, got across the first stream, got a bit further and went across the second stream and the third was a bit of tight squeeze but we managed to do with only a little bit of mud going on the boots and a damp bottom. And got across.
And then the path changed from being a gravelly path to being mud or ground. It would have been dry ground hait been the middle of summer but because it was Spring and we’ve had the wet spell, it was muddy-ish. So I hato tip toe because you can’t walk with high heels in mud, you sink so tip toed and got as close to the waterfall as I possibly could. And then I sat on a stone and I just lookeat it. I didn’t take a photo of it. I just looked at it.
Mahon Falls is like a multi layer cascade. At the very top there is a thin channel, where all the water is going at the same speed. And then it goes to the side through another bit and that was out of view at this angle. And then there was the bit, the bit that had been bugging me all along, the bit that I just had to go and look at. And in the middle of the waterfall there was water just pouring down the rock quite slowly and then either side of that there were two channels. One was going very fast and one was going fast. But because I was now so close to the waterfall I could see there were another two smaller waterfalls, or two smaller channels and this water was just doing its own thing.
And then all this water pooled into the bottom, I assume I couldn’t see that, but it all came to the next little fall altogether again.
And I just thought that – that is like us, we are all made new creations, and that’s the beginning of our journey, we are madenew creations, the past is gone. But how we then walk, or how we then travel is different for each of us. Some of us travel fast and some of us travel slow. And some of us go at the side and a different route. But we all come down into a pool that cascades down the same again.
And I think God was telling me that yes, I am different, I don’t have a massive heritage of Methodism within me, I am different. But he still loves me. And he loves me just as much as anybody that is seeped in Methodist history, anybody that knew John Wesley personally, anybody that knew Jesus personally. He loves me the same. And He has a purpose for me.
And so there I was at my waterfall, looking at my waterfall, and because on Friday I was due to have a meeting where I was about to throw the towel in again and say, this is it. I am too different. I am not the same, I can’t, why would I bother fighting, this whatever it is. I am too different, I am unacceptable to the church. I am throwing the towel in before I have even started really this race.
And then I turned around. ..
I sat there for some time. But eventually I realised I would have to go back up, because every time I had gone down, I was thinking I’ve got to go back up that. And my back, my sciatica was sort of like saying Yes you do! Ow! And I was thinking about the streams, and I was thinking about all the things and how difficult, how more difficult it was going to be to get back.
So I turned around, to head back and there was a rainbow. And today is not a day for rainbows, I have a friend in the States called Charlene and she tells me there can’t be a rainbow there because there is no rain. And I told her to make her own with glass beads in a window. And there was a rainbow for me, there was no rain. There was not a cloud in the sky, today is 9 degrees, and blue sky and absolutely gorgeous. And there was a rainbow. It was a spectrum, there was no bow. At Mahon Falls there is a curve of mountains, around the falls. The sun was beginning to go behind one of the mountains. It was about quarter to three in the afternoon. And you see, that is the other thing that had happened all day, was I kept catching a glimpse of a spectrum in the sky, but not fully seeing it, just sort of like “I’m there” Just out of the corner of my eye I kept seeing them. And it was very weird. But for the first time I had my camera handy and about to walk I took photos of this spectrum. I don’t feel the need to prove that I have seen a moonbow, or that I have seen a rainbow on a cloud, but sometimes other people need to know. Sometimes other people need the proof, so I thought right I’ll take this photo. Well I have never had so much trouble taking a photo in all my days. No matter what way I put the camera, Trying to angle it up I couldn’t. It just would not take the photograph of the spectrum. So I have ten photos of mist, and the spectrum that was in the middle of it I don’t think I got it. And I was crying, I was, water was coming down my face, it wasn’t crying, it was tears of joy. Because every time I get to the point where I throw in the towel, I never actually get to throw in the towel. I get to say I’m going to throw in the towel, I get to verbalise it, I get all the way through to that point but then when the time actually comes for me to actually physically get hold of the towel and throw it on the ground, I get a spectrum. Or I get a rainbow, or in the middle of the night, a moonbow, I get God telling me, that He is with me, this is His will, whatever way it works out, it is His decision,
And I may not be acceptable to the church, I may not, but it is not for me, to throw in the towel.
I must continue on.
And step out in faith
Just like going across those streams
One step at a time
Cos that’s what He wants me to do.
And I am not going to diss’ Him
So there’ll be no throwing in the towel, on Friday.”
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20