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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Monday, January 31, 2005

Thoughts Flying Over Shannon




My God, the world is a truly fantastic place, created with beauty and love and imagination. You can fly above Ireland and see how lucky we all are to be here, to live here, to die here, to eventually become part of this amazing Earth.

I have been thinking a good deal about victims, of the tsunami, of 9/11, of poverty, of war, of disease. Ireland is a good place to contemplate God and beauty and victimhood all at the same time. I've never been to a place that was simultaneously exemplary of both the work God can do and how man can screw it up in the oh so ironic name of religion. A minister once asked me, "Can you believe people fought wars over Jesus?"

Past the days of the Berlin wall, there's a gate in Belfast, ironically called The Peace Line that shuts everyday at six PM, cutting Catholics off from their Protestant neighbors, cutting off the ability to make peace. I expected separate churches and neighborhoods and schools. What I didn't expect was walls running beneath the Earth to separate the worms eating Catholic bodies from the worms eating Protestant ones. The hatred runs deep in some places. Separate grocery stores. Separate dry cleaners. Separate taxi services. Separate lives following the same God, the God of love, unity, and brotherhood. The God from both religions who created food from nothing to feed thousands. Separate soccer teams. The God from both religions who healed lepers, prostitutes, alcoholics, the sick, the weak, the miserable, the sinners. Separate restaurants. The God from both religions who asked his followers not to hate those who murdered his own son. Separate newspapers.

In a country whose reputation for friendliness transcends international borders, language barries, cultural lines, the thought of a conscious, willing separation of any sort seems inconceivable.

From up here, it all just looks green...it all just looks Irish...it all just looks living.

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