Hairline Fractures and Flying Debris

The past three days have been eventful. On Saturday, my brother fell fifteen feet out of a tree and broke his back. Yesterday, a piece flew off the roof of my rented home and damaged a neighbour’s car. While storm Ophelia raged outside, my grandfather’s cousin passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

Outside of my tiny sphere of experience, three people lost their lives because of Ophelia and many more people are assessing damage of property and vehicles and trees and roads and waiting for the electricity to come back on (it could take up to ten days for some).

In the wake of tragedy and deliberate evil, I often hear the question, “Where was God when…?” “Where was God when that tree fell on Clare O’Neill’s car?” “Where was God when Stephen Paddock starting shooting?” I think these are perfectly valid questions, I ask them too. It’s very rarely I hear the reverse though. Continue reading

How to Make French Onion Soup

In loving memory of Josetta Asha Koshy and Rosalie Heaney.

Chop onions until your eyes gush
Enough to flood the sting.
Chop, chop! As saline bleeds
Into milky juice leaking and
You no longer know where
Vegetable ends and you begin
(or is it you who’s ending?). Continue reading

Let Me Lend You My Roar

The door swung open. I didn’t even realise that I’d found the key.

She sidled up to me at the end of the day and told me how much it had meant to her, that little text message with a scripture verse and a “you can do all the things this week!”

All the weeks I’d been trying to find a connection point with her and in the end it was a tiny, almost throwaway act that forged it. It unlocked her. It unlocked her group of friends, who seemed impenetrable from the outside. Continue reading

The Gift of Irritation

I love comfort. Give me a blanket and a cup of tea and I’ll delight in daydreams for hours. This love of comfort often finds me hoarding good intentions without giving them wings and releasing them. In other words, I get cases of chronic laziness.

Because of this I dislike irritation. Irritation… well… irritation irritates! It’s like the person I cross the road to avoid. In recent months, however, I’ve started to view it as a friend. Continue reading

Coal & Socks

I remember when receiving a bag of coal for Christmas would have been considered a punishment and receiving a pair of socks would have been boring. 20+ years later (and with a real feel temperature of -6c last night*) I’d be delighted if someone treated me to coal **and socks***. A change in perspective determines how you respond to your circumstances! Continue reading

Gently Held

Interrupted by a Goldfinch
This afternoon as I was working in the living room I heard a thud against the window. Looking out I saw a dazed looking goldfinch blinking rapidly on the ground. My protective instinct instantly kicked in and I slowly crept out to see if I could help.

I picked him up as gently as I could, making sure not to crush him, and placed him in my hand. He was so dizzy that he couldn’t even stand. His little toes were curled up and he leaned awkwardly on them. He still had a piece of fluff in his beak for nest-building and as I held him I could feel his heart rate increasing.

How on earth could I communicate to this little bird that I was not going to hurt him or eat him?! Continue reading

Authority and Submission

Come Dance with Me?
A few years ago I was walking through St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin’s city centre and heard music coming from the usually abandoned band stand. That day there were twelve couples salsa dancing in that tiny space!

Each couple wore their own clothes and had their own steps and style. There was no sign of formal co-ordination yet they moved seamlessly around each other, even with no elbow room.

One couple in particular caught my eye. He was tall and held her close, so close that all she could see was his chest. They danced as one. There was nothing awkward or forced about their movements yet I wondered how she didn’t knock into anyone when she couldn’t see around her! Continue reading

29 Thoughts as I Turn 29

Yesterday I turned 29. I am no longer completely wet behind the ears, nor am I particularly wise or experienced. In no particular order, here are 29 things I’ve learned in my 29 years.

1. Independence is a myth. If you were truly independent you wouldn’t need to shop at the grocery store.

2. Interdependence is a skill. It must be learned and it requires trust.

3. You can always find something to be thankful for.

4. You can always find something to complain about.

5. You never deserve grace and you will always need some. Continue reading

This is My Confession

Recently, an organisation asked me to submit my personal statement of beliefs, not a copy-and-pasted version from a website. After reading the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds, I sent a very slightly abridged version of the following:

God
I believe in God. Not in just any god, a byword to which people attach whatever attributes they choose, but in one God- the Creator God who invites us to call Him “Father”. Continue reading