Happy St. Paddy’s Day friends! I admit I don’t really celebrate and never remember to wear green, but do I love Ireland! It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since I’ve been to Ireland. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but then I look at pictures (ahem..my fashion) and I realize that yes indeed it was a long time ago. It was an amazing trip for so many reasons. It was my first “real” international trip (I don’t really count the days trips to Mexico or the missions trip during my senior year in high school) and opened my eyes to so many things. From the beautiful experience of a different culture to the spiritual, I was reminiscing recently (blame St. Paddy), so I couldn’t help but post about it today!
I found my photo album from the trip (this was before I had a camera of my own) and all I used was disposable cameras (which is reason enough for me to go back and take real pictures). The quality y’all. Yikes. Even with the terrible quality, such memories in each photo! Now onto the 5 things I still hold on to from that trip.
1. People may worship differently, but that doesn’t change the fact we’re all on the same team. I went to Ireland on a short term missions trip with my church at the time. It’s a Friends Church (think Quaker), so we partnered with Friends Churches over in Ireland. We met in a Friends Meeting House, which in my mind dated back to 1652 when George Fox was causing all kinds of ruckus (and by ruckus, I mean started the Quaker denomination), and since it was a very traditional meeting, there was no music worship or preaching. When a person felt led by the Spirit, they shared a verse or spoke a word of encouragement. Y’all, this was way different from the church I went to (and the non-denominational one I go to now). I admit it was a bit uncomfortable at first since it was so different and I wasn’t prepared, but it was a great experience and helpful to see the ways other believers worship and seek the Lord.
2. Accents are amazing. Congrats British Isles, you win on accents.
3. There is so much to learn from people of different cultures. Even if beliefs are different, what a beautiful thing to have open and honest conversations about life and faith. Part of my trip involved working at a youth camp and while most of the people’s experiences were vastly different from mine, I loved it! I loved hanging out with them, talking with them and simply being.
4. Travel friends! Travel! I am 100% completely biased, but while traveling costs money, it’s one of the only things that you spend money on and it keeps on giving. The excitement of a new car? That fades. Even a new wardrobe (although I do like a new outfit on occasion) goes out of style. But traveling? Those experiences shape you, mold you and stay with you for life. I’m still friends with some of the people I traveled with and also people I met in Ireland. Traveling is worth every single penny.
5. I couldn’t post without at least one lesson from Saint Patrick right? In his book, The Confession, we gain insight into his early life. At 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and enslaved for six years. Yet, instead of being filled with bitterness, during that time he spent time thinking about who he was and his spirituality and eventually found faith and turned his life to Christ. What a story right? There’s often times I don’t understand why something is or isn’t happening, but I can trust that God is still in control. Like Joseph and Saint Patrick, we are refined in the fire. Amen.
Do you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in any way? If you could go to any country right now, where would it be?