Yo yo yo
I am writing to you (whoever is lucky enough to stumble across this fabulous blog) from an old man's pub in rural Ireland (because it is the only place with wifi I can find)
Soon I'll have been adventuring across Ireland for 2 months. It is truly a glorious place. I was quite pleased to find that it IS indeed a land richly flowing with gingers, lovely accents, and lively pubs. However, I was incredibly disappointed to find that there are NO Lucky Charms or Leprechauns here. At all. I haven't even seen a rainbow. Devastating, I know.
So why am I traversing across Ireland you may (or may not) wonder?
I have been on an Internship with Serge, a worldwide Christ-centered missions organization where we have been partnering with churches across Ireland serving inner city youth, chillin with the homeless, working with pastors who help drunk people get home safely on weekends, running camps, leading worship, giving a variety of talks (one on the radio), and even having the privilege of being involved in some Catholic/Protestant reconciliation.
Next week I will be running a kids cooking camp... Let's just say my most proficient dish is mac and cheese. Prayers are appreciated.
Anonymous HITTAS key learning points for Irish survival:
1) In Ireland the word "pants" means "underwear". This proved sufficiently awkward when I chose to wear a skirt on a sunny day and stated in front of my Irish friends, "ah man, it's so freeing to not wear pants!!" After a red faced, hurried explanation, I think we are still friends.
2) If an Irish person says, "that was some mighty crack", they are not admitting to usage of an highly addictive illegal substance. So before you kindly refer them to druggie anonymous (or conversely, ask them to share), know that here "crack" means "fun times".
3) and most importantly, if you ask for a cookie from an Irish person you will undoubtably end up with a sad looking cracker to be dipped in your afternoon tea. More to come on how to obtain actual cookies.
One thing I have been studying in depth while being here is Ireland's Catholic/Protestant conflict. To boil it down, there have been hundreds of years of violence between the north (Protestant) and south (Catholic) of Ireland, beginning with British colonization. Because both sides had such strong cultural links to their particular sect of Christianity -British/Protestant and Irish/Catholic - they became diametrically opposed to one another. As so often happens, violence over property and nationality escalated into religious conflict as well.
In my internship we hung out for a month doing service with Irish interns our age, from the north, south, Protestant, and Catholic. It was a beautiful mixture of people whose history had been marked by violence towards one another. At first some tensions were felt between groups. Yet as we embraced each other as sisters and brothers inextricably bound by the forgiveness and love that Jesus has showed us- reconciliation took place.
In a country deeply wounded by a religious conflict, I saw that when one lives out the core of what it means to be a Protestant or Catholic- that is to love- seemingly impossible reconciliation can be had. It is not mere tolerance, nor is it simply ceasefire. It is truly loving ones enemies, and embracing the despised. We all share the commonality of our sacred humanity. It is easy to demonize a people group and hard to love and forgive those who are even associated with grievous injustices.
I could be wrong about this all, but at least I've found truth in the wise words of the Catholic servant Dorothy Day, "love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only solution".