The Latest Adventure

11:03 AM

     Looking out over the patchwork fields at the most extraordinary green I'd ever laid eyes on, I caught my breath. Could this really be my home? My heart leapt at the realization that I had the privilege of living here! All at once, looking out of that tiny airplane window, I had the "aha" moment I'd been waiting for for so long. (I'm a strong believer in catching God's heart for a nation while looking through airplane windows!) As we drove up from Dublin to Belfast, my heart was charmed by the green countrysides lit with golden, autumn sunlight and the rollicking lilt of my husband and mother-in-law's Ulster brogues. 

     The truth is, for a year and a half, I have struggled with this magnificent, rugged island. Even with a visa and stamp in my passport, my heart never really arrived. Everything was a fight, from driving on the left side of the road in a manual car (those early days of driving a stick shift were highly reminiscent of Mr. Toad's wild ride,) to getting a bank account. No one would put my name on anything, from a phone plan, to an electricity bill, and with each "no," I would feel the sting of rejection not just by a system, but by the people themselves. 

    Friendships were difficult to form. I was a foreigner walking into the lives of people who had jobs, families, and close friends already in place. It felt like walking into the middle of someone else's story. Every week, I would find myself crying out to God asking why He had taken me across the world to be faced with all this. 

     For a year and a half, I reached out, longing to love as I had once loved Northern Ireland, all those years ago. And yet, in reaching out, I was met by plate glass, dim lighting, and a harsh surface; everything within reach and yet, compeletely inpenetrable. And now, for some unknown reason, everything had clicked into place. I wasn't hanging on or getting by, I was loving life. The beauty everywhere startled me in its reality. How had I not seen this before? The people themselves weren't harsh and unfriendly, they were kind, if a little shy. Even now, as I sit in this coffee shop and write these things, I am both overwhelmed by the sorrow of the last season and in wonder at this newfound wonder. For some reason, God has removed the blinders and I am surrounded by light. And, oh, I am thankful for that light.

   In that season, I didn't feel permission to write. How could I offer clarity when I had none? I let my domain name expire and chalked the blog up to a hobby I'd had in the past, not something for me anymore. And now, at last, I feel that familiar voice asking me to trust Him with my pen, or keyboard, if you will. In this season, I can now see with the clarity that eluded me these past years.         It is from this new season that I write to you, and invite you to discover Northern Ireland with me and take part in all my adventures. I will do my best to describe those that fill my life, people who seemed to have walked off the pages of a Dickens novel, villains and heroes alike. For these are a people of nuances, of sharp wit and hidden depths, of unrelenting Ulster stubbornness, and incredible, spontaneous generosity. They are a people brimming with intense, loves and hates concealed behind friendly charm and sparkling eyes. In many ways, they reflect the island they call home; charming and sunny at the best of times, strong and fierce at the worst. Perhaps, Arthur O'Shaunessy says it best:

                                      We are the music makers,
                                      And we are the dreamers of dreams,
                                      Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
                                      And sitting by desolate streams; —
                                     World-losers and world-forsakers,
                                     On whom the pale moon gleams:
                                    Yet we are the movers and shakers
                                   Of the world for ever, it seems.



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  1. So excited and happy that you're writing again. Such beautiful words! I can't wait to read what you write next, friend.

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing! Appreciate your candidness.


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