Carpe diem - There's so much to enjoy about this time of year
On Tuesday, March 7, I was mulling over in my head what I would write for this column this week. I saw the news and the Prime Time programme that followed. Both programmes carried stories about the Tuam revelations. The next day on 'Morning Ireland' Brid Smith TD was interviewed. During the interview she suggested that the religious congregations involved in such behaviour be closed down. Also, I was annoyed about the actions of a particular bishop.
All that unpleasant news gave me the impetus to write on how I feel about the church. I'm a Dominican and I'm not happy with the direction the Order is taking. So armed with all that material I was going to write this column on my view of where the Irish hierarchical church is at present. It all changed at the flick of a switch, well, to be exact, the next day.
On Thursday I was out walking my dog before going to work. I was instantly struck by the wonder and beauty of the morning. These days it gets brighter every morning. On the day that I am writing this it was bright close to 6.30. And it is changing, changing for the better and brighter every day. I'm usually walking Tess in Dartry Park before 6.20. It's not nice in the winter but these days it is magic. The daffodils are up, bringing to mind the lines by William Wordsworth: 'I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o'er vales and hills,/When all at once I saw a crowd,/A host, of golden daffodils;/Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.'
The birds are singing and just last week for the first time I saw an egret. I had never seen one in the park before. I know little or nothing about birds but the egret looks like a gentle delicate bird and it's always fascinating to see something for the first time.
After cycling to work and arriving in the garden of St Luke's Hospital in Dublin, I felt I had never seen a hospital with such a fabulous garden. It's a sea of flowers right now. One look at the garden and you know it is cared for with loving hands. Of course we see the world through our own eyes and as I write these words I'm saying to myself how fortunate I am to be able to behold and appreciate such beauty and magnificence. How can I say or how can I imagine it, but what must it be like when people are ill or in pain or simply can't do the 'ordinary' things? Since taking up my job as a hospital chaplain I have been greatly struck with the resilience of people and how they cope with illness.
On the day that I am recalling in this piece I met a man at the hospital entrance. He had lost his leg, was sitting in his wheelchair, heading to rehab. The first thing he said to me was what a beautiful morning it was and he said it with such a smile. How humbling for me to hear that. Sometimes we take so much for granted. This surely is the best time of the year. There's everything to look forward to. The fishing season begins on the River Dodder on Friday, the clocks go forward on Sunday, March 26.
Writing these words, I'm happy I dumped the original column. For now, live in the now and enjoy it. There's so much to enjoy. Carpe diem.