The bears are sleeping at Vilhemina, hunkered down, preparing to raise cubs in the spring.
We arrive at night by propeller plane.
It is snowing as we cross the tarmac and I am grateful for the jacked loaned to me by one of our welcoming committee in Gothenburg this morning. We have travelled all day; on three separate flights, joined by friends along the way.
|Anna & Anna join us in Gothenburg
|Joy & Rita join us for the final flight from Stokholm to Vilhemina
|on the tarmac
Eva meets us and bundles us into a warm, waiting car to cover the distance remaining to her and her husband, Per’s, new home.
We wind our way along a road lined with birch and fur trees, their branches bravely holding up under the 40cm of snow that has fallen in the past week. Ice and softly falling snowflakes reflect the light from the headlights as Eva drives us north.
Already I know that we have landed in a wonderful place, so strange, striking and crazy beautiful.
It takes us 40 minutes to drive to ‘Heligfjall’, which means holy mountain in the language of the indigenous Sami people. A people who believe, that no land is ever owned except by God.
Heligfjall lies in south Lapland, just a few hundred kilometres shy of the arctic circle. It is the place that our friends, Eva and Per, have chosen to make their new home and to create a place of learning and growth they hope it will become a Gods Way of Love Learning Centre.
We turn into an arching driveway that just last week bore the prints of a passing lynx, and the small 2WD car fails at this final leg. So we walk to the house in the snow, dry, white and thick below our boots, and still falling gently upon our heads and faces. Per greets us with a warm hug and we pass into the kitchen complete with combustion stove and candles burning.
We have been up since 4 am and by now are bone tired but still we sit in the cosy kitchen for hours more, till past midnight, listening to the story of this couple and their adventures and turmoils of the past few months.
Per has spent his life a company man, a successful engineer working for a large car company. He has been accustomed to working amongst men and machines, to variables, which are concrete, controllable and fixable.
He tells us of a decision he made to finally remove the armour around his heart and soul, and to and heal emotionally. Within a few short months, this man with a Masters degree in Science but no experience in classrooms, now finds himself the Principle of a local high school. In this tiny outpost of community, where the local industries are fishing and hunting and teen pregnancy, unemployment and alcohol abuse are common, Per has challenged himself to become a leader and a creator of new possibilities for the youth that frequent his new office. His days are now filled with different, less controllable variables and he will freely admit that the armour is challenged and falling away.
As Per tells his story I can feel what a gift this tiny school has been given. These people, this community has engaged his heart. What better gift to offer youth but a leader who is humble? A person who listens not just to the nuts and bolts of their stories but one who feels the nuance and hardship and wants to work with them to find new solutions.
And we all reflect on the perfection of Gods Laws that always bring us exactly what we need in order to heal and serve well. The gifts are ever present and if we only trust in a Wisdom far greater than our own, not only do we receive but so often the opportunity to give our own gifts is created.
My heart nearly bursts at the beauty and power of God to alter our souls towards joy if only that we follow our hearts in humility and a desire to love. But such journeys commence with sensations that feel like risk, and loss, and it is too easy to panic and clamour to know what next strange thing may lie just over the horizon. Courage is needed to take our first steps outside of what is comfortable and familiar, and I believe we will be called upon again and again to dig deep, and breathe hard and have faith. We may quake in our boots many times if we are to stay the course.
We finish our tea and smile at our friends. These people are brave – and it inspires me.
Eva and Per will tell you such things are not comfortable or easy. But their growth is evident and adventure hangs like an excited newcomer in the air at Heligfjall.