I Love Me a Bench!

A piece by Sr MaryAnne, fcJ, first appeared in FCJ Sisters Blog

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Millport, a small village on the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland. I was there to rest, relax and prepare for a year of formation as an FCJ sister, the Tertianship. I had just said goodbye to a school and community where I had lived and worked for many years and I was feeling spent.

I arrived in Millport exhausted and immediately tested positive for COVID!  Not the start I had envisaged, but it made me stop, sleep and rest. After about a week I was able to go out and about again and started exploring Millport and the rest of the island of Cumbrae. It is a little piece of heaven, small and varied with magnificent views. And I was blest with good weather almost each day.

What struck me is that every direction I went in, I found a bench! There were benches by the sea, on the hill, in the town, on the side of the streets; benches made of wood, made of metal, new ones, old ones, even blue ones!


It was almost as if the whole island was telling me gently but firmly: “Come rest a while”. And I did.

It was almost as if the whole island was telling me gently but firmly: “Come, rest a while”.


The benches, the views, the sun, the sea, the kindness of the people I met … all of these healed my sorrow and my exhaustion and I could feel myself come alive again.On one of my walks I encountered this poem that someone had written beside a little seat. It reads:

Just rest a while as you hurry on by
Feast your eye on Earth, sea and sky
Smell the life as it flows through the air
Feel the ocean breeze on face and hair
Hear the roaring bull and buzzing bee
And cherish this island I beg you please

I suggest that we all need to heed these words and look around us, wherever we find ourselves, at the invitation of the Earth, the sky and life. May you find comfortable benches to rest your soul and give you strength and energy of the next steps in your life.