Why, as the sky turns dark, and I lay my head into my pillow, do all these great thoughts and ideas come to mind? I want to sleep but instead I ponder story starts, and various scenes to add to pieces I’m writing. My body is weary, too weary to get up and write. The thoughts are so vivid I’m sure I’ll remember them the next time I sit down to write, or for sure, in the morning.
Slumber finally comes. Then when the pink glow of morning lights up the sky and the sun peaks above the horizon, my eyes slowly awaken. Gratitude for the new day and all it offers, fills my heart. But alas! Some thief snuck into my room in the night while the stars twinkled and shone. I’m certain I was considering something wonderful last night, but all those thoughts vanished. Not a remnant remains, nor is there any evidence of who took the fruit of my inspiration.
The tulips are gone. The weather turned a corner and I shed my daily sweater layer. We witnessed community clean-up days; people pruned their shrubs, bushes and trees; or painted their house fronts. The sound of birds fills the air, the trees are greening, roses fill walkways, everything is in bloom or soon ready to break forth. Tour bus traffic has increased on the roads since when we first arrived. Ireland has readied itself for the tourist season, just as we prepared to pack up and leave. It is a different place than when we arrived.
Red Roses of Tralee
Yellow Roses or Tralee
We’ve enjoyed two months in County Kerry, and enjoyed the people we’ve met, gotten to know and hope to maintain relationships with.
The current stage is of goodbyes with the question, “when will we see you again?” The answer is in God’s hands.
Friends from home are asking, when you return?
Life activities on both sides of the Atlantic are calling.
Goodbyes are never easy as they pull on heart strings.
We leave with many memories.
A piece of my heart remains here and a piece of my heart is calling me home.
If you were to ask what my thoughts are, Bittersweet is the answer.
Wow! It’s hard to believe we wrapped up week seven in Ireland. In the blink of an eye, seven weeks passed.
Thoughts whirl and twirl through my mind as I try to sort them. I suspect the sorting process will take some time.
Each of us has made contacts in County Kerry that have a place in our hearts, as do many people back in the US. I’ve read each of us only has the capacity to maintain a finite number of relationships, and that number varies little from person to person. That’s not my life experience. I find as I reach out and build a relationship with someone, my heart expands to make room for more relationships. With each relationship I build, it enriches something within my life.
My heart swells at the good thoughts of those who have touched my life; I’m grateful for the simple expressions of friendship, for the caring acts of our family, for the loving arms of God’s expanded family who know no geographical boundaries.
We’ve written about the weekly activities we each take part in, and those activities may sound simple or repetitive, but in many ways that is what life is about—simple, repetitive acts performed again and again; all the while with lives interacting and crossing one another. And so, week seven was another such week for us, full of people, interactions and activities.
We try to take one day each week and drive somewhere. The attached photo is from a seashore town, an area traveled often by tourists which is why I suspect the houses are so brightly colored. It is beautiful, and then nearby is the blue of the sea and the sky.
…while memories from my childhood came flooding back.
Yesterday’s day was full. While in Glenwood Springs we went to the pedestrian bridge to view the demolition progress of the main street bridge.
Upon arriving at the site, fragrance in the air drove my memories. I detected a mixture of huge equipment exhaust and oil; broken cement; dirt and hot metal smells. It reminded me of my father. He spent his life doing road construction work. My dad smelled like this when he came home. He’d take us on weekend drives to see his work. Those sites were always close to completion, had minimal equipment there, no workers and not yet opened for public use.
So, though I could say he did road construction work, I knew little about how he spent his days, or what that work entailed. He didn’t talk about it much and when he did, it always sounded like ‘just a job’ and effortless.
After his death I learned more about what he did. He was in management for the company he worked for; they created a special position for him. Because they wanted him in management, and he wanted to still drive the big equipment the company created a new status allowing both sides to gain what they wanted.
People approached me at his visitation and spoke at length and with great respect for what they learned from him. Former co-workers remembered him as a man of his word. Men talked about some of the larger projects where they had worked with him. I saw a few pictures of him on ‘big equipment’ and he was always smiling.
Great as it was to learn those things, yesterday’s glimpse into the bridge demolition opened his world more. Amazed, I watched this huge equipment maneuver heavy pieces of demolished steel, and load it onto a semi trailer. The big claw making tiny movements, shifted the heavy load to just the right place on the truck. The obvious uncertainty of how these large pieces of mangled steel would be transported away, meant there were additional people and pieces of equipment at the ready, to ensure the work gets done.
I’m sure we’ll return to the site. History is being made in Glenwood. The old Grand Avenue Bridge is being replaced. Who knows that my thoughts will be on a subsequent visit?
The day we drove Dingle Peninsula, approaching Dingle, we could see a lighthouse in the distance but no signs leading to it. We turned around looking for a road leading to the beach and headed toward a little village called Beenbawn. There we found a small road leading to the shore with a view of the lighthouse on the other shore. The beach area was the first of many special places we would find during this trip. We watched a few people drive up the road, look at the water and turn around and leave. Our experience was much richer. As Tom climbed the higher rock walls over looking the water, I took a path between two rock walks, ultimately leading me down to the shore. The tide was out so I walked the sandy beach. The sound of the waves rolling in and then crashing against the outlying rocks before splashing back into the sea eliminated all sounds save for those from a few sea gulls on the beach. I was the only person exploring this beach. It was heaven!
I found colorful wildflowers, so small and delicate, growing on the sides and tops of the rock walls creating pockets of color against these dark reddish rocks. The sea was alive and vibrant; some of the waves created towering splashes as they crashed against the rocks.
This was the first of many enjoyable trips to the sea.
Cliffs of Moher
As we sat, we soaked up the sun, allowed the breeze blowing off the water to tussle our hair, breathed in the fresh ocean air and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks below.
Not all shores had beaches…
But they all had beauty
Salthill area outside Galway
Lunch on an island at a remote golf course tee overlooking the ocean…
The Hook Lighthouse Beach…
At one beach we met an older gentleman who had recently checked is fishing traps. He said, “The sea gets under your skin. I couldn’t live a day without coming down here.”
The following two sentences are in the middle of a book I’m reading, the last paragraph on the left side of the page. I had to stop and just think about these thoughts. In fact, I’ve been thinking about them for four days.
This is why a defining mark of revival is that as the Spirit increases, divisions decrease. Gender divisions, race divisions, socio-economic divisions fade away as everyone encounters God together.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve been working through thoughts related to Revival this year. Looks like I’m still thinking about it.
I still believe ‘refining’ is a critical component of ‘revival’. Yet after reading the above sentences I have to wonder, besides the obvious refining we each need to submit to daily, does this refining need a common focus? As Christians do we each need to take a good look at ourselves, our churches and our communities and then determine where we as individuals, might be able to help bridge some of the divisions that exist in our families, our churches and our communities? If you’re a leader, or following a leader, should you be looking for this?
No one needs to look far, to see the affects of divisions caused by:
Ego or power struggles
Desire for control and recognition
Financial disparity that abound around us
Women hampered by the glass ceiling
Relationships severed due to hurt feelings or harsh words
This list is unending. I’m sure you could add many more things to it, but you get the idea.
As we pray for Revival, perhaps we should be asking to be refined in a true spirit of unity.
Just a short greeting this evening–to all my family, friends and the new friends I’ve gained over the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing and making memories with me in 2014. It is my hope each of you will reflect on the events of 2014 and as you ponder the good memories, to also think about the lessons learned. Then while looking to 2015, think about how those lessons will be applied to the goals and directions you plan to take.