Monday, May 08, 2006

Clarity When You Least Expect It

When you drive through Ireland, you not only get to see a lot of beautiful countryside,
you will inevitably pass through a series of small, quaint towns.
We passed through
one such town on our way to Waterford last Monday and stopped to have a look.
The remains of the building above caught our eye, and I'm so glad it did. The outside
is pictured above, the inside below.

Do you see the 'bumps' on the floor...the bits that are sticking out from an otherwise
smooth ground? Those are gravestones for burial sites. I could still make out the
inscriptions on them, but they were well worn with time. A nearby sign said it
was a large collegiate church built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier
monastery. (I had to look up the term 'collegiate church'. I found it means that,
"It was served by a College—a community of clerics, which differed from a monastic
community in that it did not follow a monastic rule.") More relevant to what I took

from our visit here... ...started at the fountain outside the church. In medias res was this stone, inscribed
with a poem LEISURE written by William Henry Davies. The message on it (in case
you can't read it from the picture) is as follows:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Walking from the fountain to the actual building, we took a stairway. Inscribed
along one of the steps were the words, "The future belongs to those who
believe in the beauty of their dreams." These are the words of Eleanor
Roosevelt.

Outside was a small cemetery, with the traditional Irish boxed-in gravesites. After
reading the poem by Davies, thinking of Roosevelt's words about believing in the
beauty of our dreams, observing the stone walls of the church that were built by
hand with such skill and design, and seeing the gravestones of people whose lives
have long since passed...I was absolutely moved. It was one of those moments in
my mind, like you have when it's your birthday and you take time to think about
where you've been and where you're going next in your journey.

I've been giving a lot of thought to 'my journey' lately. At twenty-six years of age, I
finally came to terms with what I wanted to do when I grew up. So, I quit my job
and went to school to pursue it. Since I pulled out of ASU in the middle of my plan
in order to come to Ireland, the dynamics have changed, and so I'm trying to figure
out another way back into the plan. A week and a half ago, I had a meeting with a
woman from the school I thought I wanted to go to, but her message wasn't exactly
promising. I was really upset. So much so that I decided that I needed to remove
myself from it until I was less emotional. I've been thinking a lot about it though,
trying to figure out my best options. Somehow, standing at the fountain, I realized
it's OK to take the time you need to live. And even though I already haven't followed
the most conventional timeline, it's not too late to believe in my dreams and have the
future I want. No matter who you are and what the dream is. Stone by stone.

I knew that, but I think I needed to be reminded. I guess that's the point...If you live
life right, by what you believe in, it doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do
it during your lifetime and grow as much from it as you can along the way. In the
meantime, I get to married to my best friend and live in another country for awhile,
experiencing something altogether new and exciting. Not such a bad twist...


1 comment:

Lindsay Teague said...

would you mind if I used a couple of these pictures on a scrapbook layout? :) Pretty please?

lindsay