Jun 18, 2012

How Ireland Healed Me

It feels strange to say this, but I had that blog title in mind before I ever went to Ireland. At the time I thought it might have to do with recovering from the grief of my sister's death. She passed away August 19, 2010 and we had already planned our trip to Ireland for that October.

As the trip neared, however, my 86-year-old father's health seriously declined. As much as I enjoyed the trip, concern about him overshadowed everything. He passed away two days before I got back home and that blog title fell away. I just couldn't think what or how I would write something that would fit it. I did write about my father's passing, and how Tom and I were photographing rainbows at what we later learned was the hour of my father's death. That was a kind of healing, absolutely. But I still didn't think I had the right post to go with that title.

Fast forward to today, the day after Father's Day and 18 months after my father died, I suddenly realized what the problem was. I was thinking I would have to go back to Ireland to experience that healing. (And maybe something of the sort will occur when I make that trip next April.) But I think I missed the meaning of something that happened back then.

If you believe time heals, then you understand why it probably took so long. Finally I am able to understand what was happening. The day we got the news, two days before we were to fly home, I opened my Facebook page on my b & b host's computer and got a chat message from a man named Patrick. I had forgotten that we had been chatting before I left home about possibly meeting up for coffee in Dublin. We met him the next day in front of Trinity College. I'd told him about my father when he contacted me on Facebook, and it seemed as though he took us under his wing, gently, understanding how shell-shocked we were.

Trinity College, Dublin
I had never met Patrick before that day. I knew little about him. I vaguely recalled that he was clergy in the Church of Ireland. We had, and still have, just one mutual Facebook friend. He took us to see the Book of Kells, guided us around, giving us historical tidbits on all the exhibits. Then he took us on a walking tour, pointing outwe would have otherwise overlooked as we headed over to Christ Church where he works. He also teaches at Trinity College, if I'm not mistaken. He gave us an insider's tour and then treated us to tea in the crypt where he gave me a gift, a devotional book from Glenstal Abbey.

Here is one of Patrick's favorite quotes from Facebook:  "All will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well" -- Julian of Norwich

Later that evening, Tom and I decided to stop into a pub to eat. We found one that looked nice and went in and ordered a drink and a snack. I even snapped a photograph of the menu, although I don't know why. It just seemed so...Irish and historical, I suppose. As we left the waiter handed us both a keychain with the pub's name on it. Funny, I didn't think we were acting like geeky tourists.

It wasn't until much later I realized we had gone to one of the best known pubs in Dublin, one that is popular with tourists and locals alike, one that is mentioned in James Joyce's novel, Ulyssess. Davy Byrnes.

It just seemed that when Tom and I were in no place emotionally to see the wonders that city offers, we were guided to them nonetheless.

Yes, Ireland healed me. In many ways, but mostly that trip opened my eyes to how God will send the right people to you when you need them, and carry the load when life threatens to paralyze you. It's how God used Ireland and her people to heal me, to be more accurate.

Maybe this won't be my only post with this title. We'll see....


  1. Cindy - I ran across a link to this post on a twitter feed and because I've been knocked to my knees by some hard news today, the title was of interest. Glad I clicked it. Thanks for a quiet, graceful view of hard times and healing.

    1. Oh, Laura, I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I'm glad this helped somehow. We never know how God might use our words. I knew the there was a reason for the title. Hugs! Hold on to hope.

  2. What an honest piece. Thank you so much for sharing. I believe Ireland is healing too.

  3. A very touching post, Cindy, thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  4. It is a beautiful, moving and honest post, thank you for sharing it.

  5. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I could not agree with you more, that God does indeed place people upon our paths to bring comfort and healing. Praise God for your awareness of this and sharing it with others.