Friday, August 2, 2013

Lessons from the Homeland

Did you ever have an experience that was so special, so dear that you couldn't share it? 
You knew no matter what you said, there was absolutely no way to quantify the space it had taken up in your heart? 
You feared that if you imparted it in a manner less profound, it would mean that it never really happened, that it was merely a beautiful but fragile dream?

My trip to Ireland was just that for me.



I've not written much about those two weeks in February simply because they are embedded so deep, indelibly printed on my Irish soul, that there are no words.

You see, I've always called myself Italian.  Which I am.  But I'm not.
I was raised with my Italian side of the family.
There I identified with the food and the passion and the loud...
the drama and the bounty and the pride...
The love for family, food and faith.
Did I mention the food?!?

But when I disembarked from the plane in Belfast and stepped over the threshold of the first house where I was to stay, I caught my breath.
I knew I had come home.
For two weeks, I felt as though I was talking to hundreds of Daddy's, so achingly familiar they were.
I knew these people.
And they knew me.

I arose one morning last week, still feeling a bit off balance.  I opened all of the window coverings to let the light in on me.  There I spied the little Irish Blessings book that I purchased on my trip.  I opened it and the experience came back to me in a rush of joy.  I knew it was time to write, to share.  So, for you today, a little taste of The Emerald Isle through the eyes of the poets.


The Irish people are proud and the land is beautiful...

"Ireland, it's the one place on Earth
That Heaven has kissed
With melody, mirth
And meadow and mist."



Irish friendships are lasting and true...

"May you always have these blessings...
A soft breeze when summer comes,
A warm fireside in the winter,
And always the warm, soft smile of a friend."

"May your right hand always be stretched out
in friendship and never in want."

"May your home always be too small
to hold all of your friends."

The Irish people are practical...

"May the good Lord take a liking to you...
but not too soon!"

Hopeful...

"May the blessings of each day
Be the blessings you need most."

Hilarious...

"May those who love us, love us.
And those who don't love us, May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping!"


But above all, I found in my journey, the Irish people are faithful.  They may be of different faiths (and adamant that their faith is the blessed one!), but before almost anything they say or do, there is a deep and abiding sense of Him...

(from St. Patrick's Breastplate)

"Christ be with me.
Christ be within me.
Christ behind me, Christ before me.
Christ beside me, Christ to win me.
Christ to comfort me, Christ above me.
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger.
Christ in hearts of all that love me.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
- St. Patrick, 5th century Irish cleric
 
 
 
 
Oh, Ireland, of the shades of green. 
Ireland of the robust people. 
Ireland of the sea and lakes, hills and vales. 
Ireland of His people.
Ireland of the home and hearth.
Ireland...the home within my heart.
 




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