So we followed the lanterns until they lead us to a camp of Greyfriars, nine brothers huddled around a fire, almost a bonfire with flames snapping high into the air, sending sparks heavenward to become numbered among the stars. With hearty greetings they welcomed us in, to share in cups of warmed cider sprinkled with nutmeg and cinnamon. Some of them drank cups of deep red wine from old-fashioned wineskins. But all told stories of who they were, men from places one would not expect holy men to be from, sailors, lumberjacks, bookkeepers and even farmers. Some were born to be brothers of the cloth; they had been orphans in this world, left in the care of abbeys that ask no questions but only offered care.
In the midst of that gentle gold cast by an aging fire, in the midst of that ancient light, I discovered that my Greyfriars were indeed adventurers of a kind, explorers of the hidden realms of God so long lost amongst the easily visible realms of lesser, more tangible things.
They had all left the world that we are all born to know in order to live in the world we were all created to find.
They were found to be travellers through realms of time, travelling from this realm of temporal time to the realm of eternal time, from the time that transforms tomorrows into yesterdays to the time in which all things become this present moment.
They were found to be travellers through realms of essential nature, from the realm of merely earthly far from heavenly places to that realm of that realm where heaven and earth are somehow intermingled as one.
I found these holy men to be filled with laughter and with tears; just like my Granddad, just like me. Yet, they had something more, something gentle like the gentle gold that the firelight danced upon their faces. And as I slipped off to sleep to the lullaby of their many voices, I caught the thought that this golden something was the light of heaven shining through their very human souls.
I dreamt of love that night, the love that holds one's soul in the tender warmth of peace.