About a year and a half ago, after my brief but significant stint with a deluded psyche, I finally felt ready to get back to living in work. I called one of my nearest and dearest, Bill, and told him that if he ever needed a hand in the business of touring - conducting, stage directing and the like - that Drew and I had discussed it, and I would love to help out.
He called me a few weeks later and asked if I was really serious in my offer.
"Absolutely," I said enthusiastically though briefly wanting to throw up with anxiety.
"How about Japan?"
I jumped at the chance.
I had spent two glorious, growing summers in Japan in 1989 and 1990.
One on a seven city tour around the country performing a two hour concert;
the other at the base of Mount Fuji at an amusement park, Fujiku Highlands, entertaining the park crowds.
Try as I might, however, I could not get my family schedule to match Bill's need. He finally called me to say he was so sorry, but he didn't think it was going to work out. He had booked travel for another director.
Honestly, I felt so called to do this, I just couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. But for once, I decided to not question and just wait. In a later conversation, he said to me, "You know, you could always go next year. We have three tours going out and I know we'll need help. What about Ireland next January?"
I wanted to cry.
The land of my ancestors, both McGonagles & Kerrigans...
The Emerald Isle...
County Donegal where my grandmother, Margaret, was raised on Lach Foil "twixt Foil and Swilly, with the mountains behind her and the lake at her feet"...
The country where Daddy's anthem, Oh Danny Boy, was born...
The country he had never gotten the chance to visit.
"Yes, Ireland. Yes, I will go there," I said.
I am just back from Margaret's homeland.
A country where it rains most days but is never dreary...
A country where it is said that 40 shades of green are found among the fields and vales....
Forest & fern, Laurel & light,
Myrtle & moss, Emerald & bright...
Darkness and glow mingling with the blue of the sea and lakes, the whitecaps of the ocean.
Yes, this trip was predestined and the timing designed.
Last May, according to my plan, I would have been half a world away in Japan.
Last May, according to His plan, my dad went into hospice care.
I likely couldn't have gotten back to say goodbye...
to share the sacred rite of death into new life with my family...
to experience Heaven through Daddy's eyes.
Yes, Ireland was by design.
The sites and the sounds;
The relationships and the lessons;
The music and the mirth;
The bounty and the blessings.
Knowing each moment that my dad was there, guiding me and leading me, experiencing each precious moment with me.
Oh, how grateful I am that my plans are fleeting, but His arranged.