Did you ever notice how some people smile with their whole face and especially their eyes?
Some time ago I visited Jack Meehan. He was born in a “t’ached cot’age” in Ireland more than 80 years ago. He is, among other things, a saxophonist and trumpeter. I visited him on the 10th floor of Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he was “rehabbing” from a medical issue. He is the father of Bridget Mary Meehan (Bishop within the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement) who celebrates Mass at St. Andrew UCC. It is a privilege to know this father/daughter!
You can see Jack Meehan, and listen to him play . . . if you google YouTube and then in their search window type in “Jack Meehan with Ballyroan, 2010.” It’ is fun.
Jack has told me in earlier conversations that if I’m going to Ireland with Patricia I need to know how to dance. ”All the men in Ireland dance when they go the pubs, Phil! You need ta’ too!” I have Jack on video (as recently as a couple months ago) trying to teach me Irish rhythms. It is beautiful to watch him . . . and . . .well . . . less so to imagine me.
I introduced myself to him tonight at the hospital as, “your dance student.”
That’s when he smiled.
It was an ebullient look of love and mirth I saw in the gleam of his eyes and the radiance of his face.
That smile of love and mirth is one I hope to encounter often among the Irish when we are there.
John O’Donohue has that sort of smile in his “Sounds True” DVD: ”A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O’Donohue,” when he tells us:
“Always in a pilgrimage, there is a change of mind and a change of heart.”
He also tells us: ”faith is a helpless attraction to the divine.”
You are a cherished loved one of God.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Such is the wisdom for growing older that I take from the look I saw on the face of Jack Meehan tonight at SMH.
One Sunday, Linn Possell and I offered this Ray Simpson Celtic Blessing. It was first given to me by Ann Dumphy of Eagle River, WI. I am honored to encounter it again as Patricia and I continue our journey toward Ireland made possible from a grant award to St. Andrew UCC from the Lilly Endowment and begun more than a year ago:
In the blessing of our foreheads . . . we reclaim the power of reason.
In the blessing our eyes . . . we reclaim the power of vision.
In the blessing of our lips . . . we reclaim the power to speak.
in the blessing got our hands . . . we reclaim the power of creativity.
In the blessing of our feet . . . we reclaim the power of movement.
Ahh, love and mirth . . .
May we we see it often.
May we dance it.
And may we drink it in!