With winded lungs and sore legs, we raced to the top of the William Wallace Memorial. I spread my arms out to embrace the view. Such beauty in Scotland. The landscape stretched for miles as the wind whipped across the sky. Buildings covered the central part of the city. Thousands of people live within the city limits. Thousands of people that I may never know, but I can stretch my arms to the sky and embrace all this culture has taught me. As we ventured back down the stairs, I noticed one of the rooms reverberated sound. I let the sound of my voice delicately dance around the top of the tower. It echoed back into my heart as I welcomed the sound of angels to sing with me. The acoustics of the William Wallace Memorial fascinated me. Lyle then sang songs in different languages and we ended our time singing Doxology. The memorial honored William Wallace for his bravery and for defending Scotland with every fiber of his being. An honor that Scotland will never forget, as the memorial stands high on a hill. Forever claiming freedom of the lands.
We wandered around Stirling Castle earlier in the day, and in the evening had dinner at a restaurant named after a Robert Burns poem. With tired bodies and souls, most of us crashed early in the evening.
The following day we traveled to the grand city of Edinburgh. Wandering the streets I watched as daily life happened. The mix of different cultures on holiday and living in the city was captivating. We wandered into St.Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile and looked around the impressive architecture of the building. The sun lighted up the stained glass windows as the ceilings rose high above the stone ground. I walked over to see a stone memorial of an honored man in the city. The stone man looked as if he would come to life, and I noticed a handwritten note and flowers in his hand. It gave blessing to the man and said everyone should learn from his honor. It was the first moment I realized how important honor is in Scottish culture. How so many people have fought for their religion, land, and their people here. Because they believed in the cause and rights of their people.
With an evening of laughter and good conversation at The Last Drop and listening to music at Maggies Pub, I realized some of the influence of this trip. After being hit on by a British Stag group, Rachel and I laughed until we cried, mostly from Elizabeth’s hilarious sense of humor! We delved into deep subjects and contemplated the grand questions of life with a humorous approach. The influence of my peers is apparent in the way we know one another now. Laughing until we cry, teasing one another, and welcoming one another’s beauty and faults has shown me a great deal about friendship. I am blessed to say I have made friendships on this trip that I hope will last a lifetime, cause who else will understand all the inside jokes and the grand questions we have delved into. We speak of freedom, justice, honor, friendships, and the people of this world. We claim freedom through our laughter as we do not let words or systems hinder our joy. We are a generation that recognizes, discusses, and claims freedom. Amongst the cultures of this world, the angels sing out in freedom as the sound echoes across the land.