Thought for the Week, November 13 2020

Thought for the Week author Marilyn Shedden

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Last week I received a very lovely gift.

It wasn’t anything new or of monetary value, but to me it was very special.

It was a book which came from a friend who knew I would treasure it. The book had belonged to Dr Runa Mackay, who had died at the age of 98.

Dr Mackay was an amazing woman who touched the lives of so many and spent much of her long medical career working in Israel where she strove to improve the health of the Palestinian people.

She began her work in Israel in 1954 with a six-month locum job at
the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society hospital in Nazareth and
stayed in Israel for the next 30 years.

After retiring she returned to Edinburgh in 1985. She was a member
of the Iona Community and held dear its vision of justice and peace.

Runa was a member of the Medical Campaign against Nuclear Warfare, staffing its buses during the Edinburgh Festival and taking part in vigils in Glasgow and London.

A familiar figure each Saturday afternoon at Edinburgh’s Women in Black vigils against injustice, war and violence, she was immortalised in the Scottish Parliament’s Travelling the Distance installation to mark women who made a significant contribution to Scotland.

Runa was a feisty and determined woman who influenced and inspired many and was still demonstrating for that vision of peace into her 80s.

She had a long association with Kintyre and would come to Cleit church when she visited – a tiny woman wearing a fleece and a backpack. Runa seemed ordinary, but she was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

The gift of her book is very special.