Saint Patrick's Day Shadows
This is an up-and-down day for me. Already had two teary spells and the day is still young. Well, youngish…the sun is still making its way across the sky.
St. Patrick’s Day…funny how, as you get older, holidays begin to assume more shaded, bittersweet overtones. Growing up with a Dublin mother and lots of Irish nuns fresh over from the Old Place, I loved St. Paddy’s Day. We always went to Mass. Mother sniffed derisively at the green beer and drunkness of American celebrations. In *her* youth, the pubs in Dublin were closed on March 17th. In Savannah, we went to the wonderful St. Patrick’s Day parade. In South Boston, I watched the festivities for several years with my former in-laws. It’s hazy now: I remember the formal parlors in the three decker homes, and the amazing amounts of beer and politicians. It was a noisy, happy place, though we always went back home to the suburbs before nightfall.
Here in the blue hills of Viriginia, March 17th is the day to plant potatoes and peas. I didn’t prepare the vegetable bed yesterday because of the lashing rain, and now it’s windy and cold. Methinks I’ll commit a venial sin and wait till the spring solstice. Besides, I have to move a raspberry cane I planted in that plot “temporarily” last September.
There isn’t any Irish sentiment where we live. Just as well. It’s become a sad holiday now. My Irish mother is gone, my lovely colleen, Shelagh, is gone, and — worst of all - a friend of the future Baron, a boy with the most wonderful Irish name - killed himself at school on this date several years ago. The fB and I dug up his grandmother’s crucifix and a tall candle to burn in their memory today.
Meanwhile, I offer you a Celtic blessing I found some years ago. I framed it then, and now I use it for this St. Patrick’s Day:
May God’s tenderness shine through you,
to warm all who are hurt and lonely.
May the blessing of gentleness be with you.
May the God of Peace be with you,
stilling the heart that hammers
with fear and doubt and confusion.
And may your peace cover
those who are troubled or anxious.
May the God of Mercy be with you, forgiving you.
May your readiness to forgive calm the fears
and deepen the trust of those who have hurt you.
May the God of strength be with you,
holding you in strong-fingered hands.
May you be a sacrament of strength
to those whose hands you hold.
May the God of Gentleness be with you,
caressing you with sunlight and rain and wind.