As a child my Mum always told me I was a certain character from a book. She thought this because of my dreamy, big eyed innocence. I was a little girl who bounced around in sunshine, blue skies and smiles. I wore lovely blue and white little dresses (along with the compulsory Disney jumper), and most of the time I wore an Alice band.
There I was, all eyes and blonde hair; a born dreamer.
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would
be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And
contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it
would. You see?
That's right. Mum thought I was Alice in Wonderland. What is really funny, is the way I never grew out of it, but grew more and more into it. Most of my life is nonsense. Lovely, lovely nonsense. I tried to be 'normal' (whatever that is) and here's how that felt to me.
Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
Normal did not seem to make a lot of sense to me. Conforming was not to dream. When you have to live like everyone else the things that are special to you and make you who you are go ignored, and then you walk around for the rest of your life unfulfilled and frustrated. Not me. My 'contrary-wise' brain made the switch a while back. What is normal to the world is nonsense, what is nonsense is normal. This is maybe why I fit in so well on Iona.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here.”
Ladies and gentlemen; the Iona Community! My first delve into madness being the everyday, run-of-the-mill occurrence. In the number of years I worked with the Community I was exposed to some gentle crazies, and also some out and out nut jobs. I like to think I skipped gentle crazy and landed somewhere in the middle at delightfully bonkers, thanks to all my previous training from my parents.
“Do you think I've gone round the bend?"
"I'm afraid so. You're mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
I couldn't agree more. Now I live quite happily on Iona, doing my craft stuff, living in a retreat centre with Toben as Warden. In an out-of-the-way place, on an out-of-the-way island, doing an out-of-the-way job. With all the other delightfully bonkers people here too, of course.
“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but
out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid
for life to go on in the common way.”