I could never have known when we began to read Our Island Story just how special that book would turn out to be.
It took awhile for the faithful plugging away to produce some fruit. At first it was just history. And then as we all grew to love the stories, something special happened. We loved a place not because we had seen it, but because we knew so much about it.
Education, like Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
I could not have known that four years after our first child began to read those stories, we would have a special opportunity to visit a tiny corner of England.
We recently traveled to Albania to visit our missionaries and see their work. It was quite an adventure!
Because of time and layovers, we decided to try to see a small bit of England on our way home. I could not be more grateful to have that opportunity! Due to time and travel constraints, we decided to focus our time on Southern England. I think it was a good decision.
Since each of my children have either read Our Island Story (among other history books that told us about Great Britain) or are in the process, we collectively had quite a bit of knowledge of the Canterbury Cathedral. I should have known that we would, but it was still a surprise.
We have read and discussed St. Augustine (he founded the Cathedral in 597 AD), The Norman Invasion, Thomas a Becket, The Black Prince (King Edward the III), and many more who have been involved in some way with the Cathedral.
I was not prepared for the emotions when we first saw it. And for how much my children knew, and how pleased they were to see those places they have read about and discussed so often.
We had the incredible timing to be there on a Sunday morning. We were able to get into the Cathedral for free since we were attending a service. The service lasted around 20 minutes, and I cried almost the whole time. I had never been in such an awe inspiring building. The grandness stuns you.
I thought of the people who have been a part of the building of this magnificent thing, and especially of the great sadness of the ones whose hearts were “still in darkness” the entire time. I thought of the people, however few there may have been who were “men of the burning heart”. Those who knew and loved their Lord, and continuously thought of how much He had done for them. It seemed that no matter the reason for building something like this, those whose hearts love Jesus can experience something special when they see such a place of beauty.
There was no picture taking allowed in the Quire, so I only took a few:
The grounds were beautiful…
Then, for the icing on the cake, as Josh (age 9) and I were walking outside around the grounds, he said “this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen”.
Me: “Aren’t we lucky?”
Josh: “Grandpa said not many kids will have a chance to come here.”
Me: “And even if they did, a lot of them wouldn’t know as much about this place as you do.
Josh: “Yeah, I’m really glad I knew all about this place before I came here, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”