Posts Tagged ‘Donnycarney’

Tempus fugit

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Where does the time go? It falls like sand through our fingers. Cannot be stopped. Races, gallops, charges along. It will not wait for us.

Twenty years ago today my son was born. Fiche bliain ag fás. Twenty years a-growing. Twenty years since I gave up my permanent, pensionable teaching post in London, teaching Religious Education to boys who are now in their early to mid-thirties! How did that happen? Boys whom I remember as teenagers who are now fully-grown men with children, even with teenagers, of their own.

Ah the shock I got years ago driving back to Donnycarney where I grew up and seeing mature tress in Grace Park Meadows which were planted in my childhood. Those saplings had transformed to full-grown trees – now what did that say about me: only that, when I was not looking, I too had been aging, maturing, going further along my personal finite lifeline.

All we have is now. All I have is now. This now which is whipped from me like a leaf sundered from its tree on a gusty day. The cacophony of life resounds around us. And sooner than we think all will be still. We will be as we were before our conception: that is, not at all. We are not traumatized by our non-existence before our life: why should we be after it?

And by not relying on imagined existence after death, we can live this moment as best we can.

Enjoy this day, my son, and every day. Live each moment to the full. Be yourself. Dare to be you. Ignore any detractors or anyone who might seek to pull you down. Surround yourself with people who love you and whom you love. Carve your own path in life. Think for yourself. Never let anyone else do your thinking for you. Choose what you want, not what you think you ought to do. Be reasonable. Be compassionate. Be willing to take a calculated risk. Trust yourself.

Returning home

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Returning home  is a powerful theme. I’ve been away (hence my silence) and I just love being home again. Sure, it was great to travel. They’re right to tell us travel broadens the mind. But, a bit like a monk out of his cell, the battery runs low away from base – at least it does for me (to mix my metaphors!).

Coming home is a great theme of humanity. The return of the emigrant. The return of the prodigal son. And, of course, return to earth – coming home, our race run, our life spent, reentering the dust from which we came. The Celtic Tenors sing a beautiful song called Caledonia which anchors around the words ‘I’m going home’. I associate it with my late and much-loved father-in-law Eugene Cassidy, a farmer from county Meath, who, while he had terminal cancer and his death was approaching and his mind was affected by his illness and medication, and he wanted so often to ‘go home’. ‘Let’s go home,’ he’d say. In fact, he was in his home and died in his home. Perhaps he yearned for the home of his childhood: maybe he was confused thinking he still lived there. (Once, he scared us and astounded us by leaping out of bed – he needed assistance to move! – yet he managed to spring from bed and make it half way down the stairs before we realised what was happening and he was ‘going out to milk the cows’.)  I associate that song, Caledonia, with Eugene RIP for his wanting to ‘go home’, this powerful draw of the human spirit to go home, to return to the place we started.

Long after I’d left home, I used occasionally to drive to the house in Donnycarney in Dublin where I grew up. The place that shaped me. The building that formed the contours of my life and world as a boy. I haven’t lived in that house since I was a boy of 18, and headed out into the world to grow and live my life, making mistakes and changes of direction. But all that’s for some other day.

For today, I’m glad to be home. Back in the house that my wife and I dreamed up and built. The home that fits us like a glove. The place we love and the place I’d be more than happy to die in. Sure, home is within us. But it’s also a physical place. When home is a place of misery, of paralysis, of constriction, it is time to move on and out. But when home is a place you love, a place you grow, a place of love and acceptance and happy relationships and healthy interchange, a place of play, a shelter from our wanderings, an engine for recharging us and a place we call our own, how very lucky we are!

Apologies for my silence these past days. As I say, I’ve been away. But I’m back! Thank you for you kind comments, which I appreciate.

Celtic Women also do a gorgeous version of Caledonia on YouTube.