May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Go n-Ã©irÃ an bÃ³thar leat.
Go raibh cÃ³ir na gaoithe i gcÃ³naÃ leat.
Go dtaitnÃ an ghrian go bog blÃ¡th ar do chlÃ¡r Ã©adain,
go dtite an bhÃ¡isteach go bog mÃn ar do ghoirt.
Agus go gcasfar le chÃ©ile sinn arÃs,
go gcoinnÃ Dia i mbois a lÃ¡imhe thÃº.
My great grandmother used to have a version of this blessing on a tile in her kitchen.Â Though the tile has been damaged and repaired, it stands in my kitchen still.
I got to visit Ireland for the first time last week.Â I was in Northern Ireland, which was the homeland of some of my ancestors on my mother’s side.Â I was actually in Belfast for a conference, but I also had a day free to visit the northern coast.
This trip was the highlight of my year.Â The conference was amazing (more on that later) and the presence of the Lord was evident.Â But, beyond that, the people were so friendly and open to talking about any little thing.Â For all of the troubles and all of the strife the city has seen I really was astounded by the geniality of the folks.Â I was able to have conversations about Jesus with almost every one I met, whether they were “religious” or not.Â It was a bit surprising (and vastly encouraging) to me as my normal experience is that most conversation shuts down when you move from a general discussion to the mention of Jesus’ name.Â Maybe I was just feeling especially bold from the power of the Spirit so evident in the time at the conference and from the prayers of partners in ministry whom I asked to pray that the Holy Spirit would renew my passion.Â Or maybe it was also that I was able to speak in English without hesitation due to language or understanding, but whatever the reason I am very thankful for the gift of this time.
The accents weren’t hard on the ears either.Â I love the lyrical lilt of the Irish.Â And don’t get me started on the beauty of the place.Â I didn’t think that any place on earth could capture my heart the way the western and coastal Scottish highlands have, but as we turned onto the A2 Antrium Highway and headed up the coast I fell in love with northern Ireland.Â I’m afraid I left a piece of my heart behind.
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and not a lot of time to blog, so I’ll end here today with a picture of me in the Giant’s Boot on Giant’s Causeway and of a rainbow near the Carrick-A-Rede bridge.Â It was raining on and off all day, so we saw rainbows at every turn.Â I have this strange desire to return and chase the rainbow’s end looking for that elusive pot of gold.Â But then again, maybe I already found it in the beauty of Ireland itself.