8. Day 16: The Queen’s Keys

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in All-One, Fear of Not-Knowing, Holy Spirit Abroad | 0 comments

8. Day 16:  The Queen’s Keys

I got a tiny glimpse of what heaven might be like yesterday.  It is history, privilege, gratitude, wonder and reunion.  It is art, silver, medals for valor and welcome.  It is gathering, eating and drinking and applause.  It is full and complete satisfaction,wholeness, full circle and return.  And joy.  Joy and “pinch me is this real?” delight.  It is all these things and more.

In 1983 my husband did a Long Armor Infantry Course in Bovington, England for the year.  It was a year that changed the course of our lives, as overseas postings do.  I discovered you live your life to the fullest during an overseas posting.  You experience as much as possible in whatever time you have.  You feel so grateful to have

Beefeater Tower of London

Our guide

snagged a post in another country you feel honor bound to fully enjoy it in every way.  I have spent the better part of my life learning to do this in “ordinary life” not just overseas postings.  Last night was a reunion of the students (and their wives) of this course.  One of the students is the Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers whose formal digs are in the Tower of London so that is where our event took place.  We gathered at a local pub (The Mineries, amazing in its own right due to being under a train line and ancient to boot) to be walked the West Gate where we would be given after hours entrance to the Tower of London.  Each step and part of the evening would have been worth the trip.  The twilight view of the lit Tower and bridge, the view of the glorious porcelain poppy display in half light pouring over the entrance, the solemn guards who  allowed us passage.

A Beefeater gave a private tour to our group the highlight being the church of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula where, amongst others, three Queens of England are buried (no photos allowed).  The history of this place is just to massive to even convey.  This remains an active place of worship today.  This set the tone of heart remembrance for the evening.  In viewing the crypt of Sir Thomas Moore we passed the porcelain poppy wreath the Queen laid on Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day) just days before.  Our tour continued of the grounds and though these very paths can be walked on tour during the day, at night the Tower and the bridge take on magical proportions with lighting and the silence of crowds dispersed for the day.  We  then made our way to the

Silver Tower of London

Treasured Regimental Silver Tower of London

Regimental HQ for pre dinner drinks, conversation and photo graphs.  It was wonderful to catch up with these people most of whom we had not seen in over 30 years.  It was great to give and receive a brief synopsis of our lives over the past 30 years.  Kind of a pass in review of one’s life.  As I briefly described our life I, too, was filled with gratitude of our story.  What was obvious is that we all had stories of births, deaths, highlights and lowlights but to be together again was so wonderful all of our stories fell away and we were left with this present moment and it was enough.  We were all welcomed beautifully by the staff no matter what our story was and treated royally.  (And this by a staff that actually knows current royalty.)

The Reunion of LAIC

The Reunion of LAIC & Partners

I couldn’t get over how truly simple it all was, even though we were in splendid surroundings, in a place of layer upon layer of history, the joy was the gathering and recognition of being together again.  The final act of the evening was the Ceremony of the Keys which is the formal locking down of the Tower at night (no photos allowed of this ceremony). A Beefeater walks the keys to their rightful place and currently serving solders challenge him, weapons drawn “Who Goes There?!” to which the answer is “Queen Elizabeth’s Keys!”.  We left the Tower on a cloud of amazement and caught a taxi home past the London Eye, Big Ben and Harrods.  I truly felt like Cinderella being delivered home but with both glass slippers in tact.  The Queen’s Keys were in their rightful place, and so was I.

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