Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reflections


My blog has lain in a state of dormancy these past few summer months. Pressing needs to be outside in the beauty of Chicago’s short-lived summer weather demanded fulfillment. The truth is that I felt the need to take full advantage of our nice days and evenings.

Summer offered up the opportunity for travel to Ireland with a group of twenty women, mostly unknown.  Together we headed off to the Connemara Mountains of western Ireland.

This was a special group of ladies who were united in the love of meditation, yoga and the author, John O’Donoghue. They introduced me to the Celtic spirituality of Ireland. I must say that the spirit and hospitality of the Irish people goes beyond description.

The Delphi Lodge became our “Home Away From Home” for the week. Built in 1830 The Delphi was originally home to a landed English family and has a shaded past as the English owners turned back starving people during the potato famine. Aware of the travesty, the current owners work to acknowledge the past and honor the poor people of Ireland.

We walked the roads that the poor and hungry trudged and visited the National Famine Memorial. It was there I learned of the Choctaw Indian kindness. The Choctaw Tribe had it’s own history of displacement and suffering. Their 1831 journey was called “The Trail of Tears.”

Through understanding the suffering of the Irish people, the Choctaw acted by sending $170 to the Irish people. So great was that gift, that the Irish continue to remember and honor the Choctaw Tribe to this very day.

One can read about history, but never really comprehend what occurred nor feel the impact on humanity unless one has suffered the same. This story resonated with me in several ways.

I first think about my husband’s Irish immigrant ancestors: William Dooley, Ellen Hart, Patrick Egan and Margaret Harrington. These are strong Irish people who knew this kind of suffering. These four ancestors made the Irish potato famine real for me. While I have yet to locate their Irish origins and their personal stories, I have learned that the Irish all share the same story.

My second consideration is this. How can I, one small person, solve our world’s problems? I can’t. But I can follow the lead of the Choctaw. My small contribution just might make a world of difference to someone in a difficult situation, as did the Choctaw gift.

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