“If the only prayer you say in your life is, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart.
The yellow and white stripes on the tall cement posts at Lurgan reminded me of the official colors of the Vatican. I enjoyed staring out at the rain from the comfort of my car. I was headed towards an all-day gratitude meeting in The Hub in Craigavon. I was about to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years. The picture below is of me and said friend, Barbara, taken a few days later. We’re outside The House of Mc Donnell in Ballycastle. We had a great time at The Auld Lammas Fair which is the oldest Fair in Ireland. The pub behind us is 260 year’s old.
Back to Lurgan petrol station. A radio broadcast in my car was highlighting the celebratory and diplomatic nature of the papal visit. I’m aware of the grace, goodness and encouragement his visit will bring to the many Catholics in Ireland. I was also aware of the protests and silent vigils taking place around the country; particularly in Tuam (mass babies grave) and parts of Dublin for (clerical abuse, Magdalene Laundries and religious institution survivors). My mother was imprisoned and tortured in a convent in Cork, Ireland for 12 years so I was naturally triggered and intrigued by his Irish visit. What does he have to say about the cruelty, corruption and cover up within the Church?
The depth of betrayal of the Church and the massive failure of ecclesiastical authorities to address the problems of the severe assaults and torture of children was mentioned. Churches in Ireland are struggling so the question, will his visit spark a spiritual revival, or is The Church in terminal decline was brought up.
I told a friend I would blog about his visit. She said “don’t write about the pope, they’ll come after you.” Not sure who they are. I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer to why it’s taken the pope 39 years to come to Ireland. Italy is not that far away from Ireland. I jokingly asked another friend why the pope didn’t arrange a meeting with me, and he said, “maybe he knows you don’t like the taste of holy communion,”
A second pivotal moment was passing in the United States. My second home. Senator John Mc Cain died. He spent five years in a POW camp and then served his country in politics. He was an American war hero who sacrificed and suffered much for his country, overcoming torture and genuinely putting the greater good of his country above himself. He exemplified servant leadership and left a deep impression on the earth. Maybe Obama was right when he said “he was the greatest president we never had.”
A third pivotal moment occurred at my gratitude meeting. I bumped into my first boyfriend. The last time we spoke was 20 years ago. He still lives in New York City, in the same Irish and Jewish beach community where I first lived too. He thanked me for having the courage to go to New York first in 1986. If I hadn’t made that leap of faith he said he wouldn’t still be living there now. Gratitude !
It’s such a small world when you’re from Ireland.