I was in Ennis and dreaming big and wide and high. Full of let’s do this retreat, silent thing and then I met Mary. Before I met Mary I was thinking of Lynda, our paths entwined as teenagers with Jo. Our stories were bound for a few scant years and I wondered what happened to the dear, sweet Lynda I remember.
Back to Mary, my silent retreat involved writing and observing, photographing in the places I visited but no words. No interactions. Just me and God. Two steps from the van the conversation started. I got a small nudge to ask this woman how she was – just weather talking. But it got deep and intense immediately. Rules of life, rural living, farming we talked and talked, rearing children, moving to town, loving our husbands. We covered it all.
Later at Ballyalla Lake I reflected on the conversation of this woman of scant meeting as I listened to children playing in canoes and the roar of builders working behind me.
Mary it was a passing nod and hello but turned to something intimate as you shared your life with me. it started with the rain just enough to calm the farmers I said And you said "AK those farmers always complaining" "I should know" you said, "I farmed for twenty one long years." So how did you leave the moan alone "I'm a glass half full girl - that's me," you said. I reared 5, a boy and two children left My good daughter's over in Liverpool My boy, he has the farm We moved to town after Danny's fall. "Fall?" I asked. Why yes he took upon a stroke one night and lost the will to live My children they know right from wrong they love, with great passion-olla and they are loved, as well, well-loved. And my heart asked silently - and you?
Later in a field as I pondered on the mission ahead and what would I find there already in place. I sang a ditty to myself. The tune “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”
O Lord won't you tell me in this time place and space O Lord won't you tell me What am I to do My head it hurts from all the darn thinking my heart lies low unable to see my hands fall idle fidgeting free O Lord won't you tell me What am I to do.
And the response I got was this from somewhere in the ether I heard these words
Abide, abide, abide for real abide, abide with me union, union, union for real union, union with me.