Well, it has been since January that I've posted on my blog. Comments included "you must be very busy" and such it has been! It was at the end of January that my dear friend, Kate, who runs the stateside business of The Kilns, was diagnosed with brain cancer and she has been undergoing treatment. I have been doing double duty since then and also had more visa complications; the double duty continues, however, the visa issues have all been resolved--and not only for me, but for all future Resident Directors. So, there's one major milestone accomplished!
Now, let's see, a quick clip of the past months. I have had visitors who have brightened my time here as well as brought me coveted "goodies" from the U.S. Kathy Goddard and Autumn Wurstle from SAU packed in a full day with tea, a tour of the Kilns, a tour of Oxford, evensong at Magdalen College, and then to a C.S. Lewis Society dinner and meeting with speaker Jason Lepojarvi (he spoke on "Theology of Love: C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine in Dialogue"). Jason is from Finland and is teaching the first CS Lewis class ever to be offered at Helsinki University; he also appeared on the Finnish TV series of Survivor (you can google him). This summer Lisa Diller from SAU visited and I met her in London so she could take me to the London International SDA Church she used to attend. It was pretty exciting and of all things, Jamie Jorge, from Collegedale, TN, was the speaker, and did he ever put on a concert! You can listen to him on youtube (as I just did in the middle of writing this--but I don't think youtube does him justice--he's much better in person--and his testimony is great! And then, of course, since I was catching some youtube music, I somehow linked onto the Gaither Band and their version of "It is Finished"--absolutely awesome--especially the last two vocalists (http://youtu.be/FGuaJM_Jmyl); and then, since the last vocalist reminded me of Keith Green, I had to look for his music, too, and found my favorite song "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" (http://youtu.be/uVgPQm06g2c) and also his live Estes Park version of "Make My Life a Prayer to You"). Now that you have followed my stream of consciousness music sidetrack that took me into some wonderful praise music for the past hour and a half . . . I'll get back to some "catching up" . . .
We even had a group from our neighboring Lee University in TN come through for a tour. As for tours, we get big groups of people, small groups of people, one person passing through, or two . . . and then they come from all over the world: some from close by in England, places like County Down, Ireland, Alberta, Canada, Washington, DC, NC, TN, CA, Alabama, Japan, Denmark . . . now that was an interesting one. Ten Danish Lutheran pastors (3 who were military chaplains) who were studying in Oxford for a week, walked the 3.5 miles uphill to The Kilns from Magdalen College. Arriving early they decided to stop at the local pub for a pint before coming over for the tour. They immediately began talking about Beowulf with me and it was a grand and glorious time of discussion of all things heroic about Danes and Anglo-Saxons. Since they were also studying GK Chesterton, I phoned up Aiden Mackey (renowned Chesterton scholar and WWII vet who fought in a Scottish Regiment) and Aiden agreed to come over and give the pastors one of his awesome lectures. Aiden spoke of WWII, of Chesterton, and then I asked from the back of the room, "Aiden, would you please recite some of Chesterton's 'Ballad of the White Horse' for the ministers?" He replied sharply, "Now, Debbie, you know I'm too old to remember a poem like that [Aiden is 89]." I waited; I knew what was coming next . . . Aiden began reciting a part of the long poem, a heroic battle with the Danes, it was Aiden's best--he wept as he quoted word for word how the warriors fought herocially, some lost, died in battle. We all wept, too; not a dry eye in the room, but silence, just like in the mead halls of ancient times--there was always silence when the bard spoke. He finished and still there was silence. One of the chaplains finally spoke, "Aiden, you just took us back in time to what it was like listening to a bard in a mead hall. Thank you." Well, we finished the tour of the Kilns, Aiden left, I was invited to Denmark, "home of Beowulf" and the tour ended with a toast--and a memory was created that we will carry with us the rest of our lives. Such is a day in the life of the Kilns. There will be more catching up later . . .