Sunday, November 23, 2014

Irish Letter A

My husband and I took a trip to Ireland in September.  I got very sick on the return trip and have been laid up, but I decided to try and participate in Alphabe-Thursday this round with my own little tales of Ireland.   This is my first offering.

Mr. Jenny was distracted trying to take pictures of a coffee-colored stream churning under medieval trees, so I walked ahead.

Across a  narrow, ancient stone bridge.

Around a bend in a road hedged with ferns and fuschia. 

Until I stopped in my tracks.

And caught my breath in disbelief at a tiny, ancient stone church nestled into the small glen of verdant greenery that was the rural Irish countryside.


Beyond the welcome of an open rusted iron gate I saw her…gathering boxwood and hydrangeas the color of sunset and mid-day.  She looked up from her lovely task and saw me.   “Welcome, come in.”  I walked across the gravel of the driveway with a huge smile on my face.   She reached out from her bouquet and we shook hands. 

“Boxwood.   Hydrangea.  What a bounty!” 



“Oh, ‘tis, ‘tis.  And I am Anne.”

“And I am Jenny,” I replied.  



We continued to smile at each other in that silly way you smile at a loved one who’s been gone from your sight for too long.  Eventually Mr. Jenny wandered into the churchyard and joined us.  He raised his eyebrows at me in question.  I introduced them and offered to carry the flowers.

Anne declined but invited us into the church.



The church.

It was ancient.   And lovely.  The dark oak gated pews gleamed with care.  The wide plank floors were swept clean but sprinkled here and there with sky blue and pink hydrangea petal confetti.

I stood in front of the altar.   I felt the history and the love and the pain and the blessings the little church held. I felt the peace the little church offered to me and I let it soak into my soul. 

My soul has been a bit bruised lately.  Trying to find solace has been exhausting work with painful introspection often soothed only by music.

So even though I heard the murmur of conversation between Anne and Mr. Jenny, I began singing. Amazing Grace. 

How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me.

The pain and loss inside of me seemed to weave into the poignant lyrics.  The burden of grief carried too long, lifted away.   I turned my face up to the jeweled stained glass window and sang through my tears. 

Anne came and stood beside me.   I turned my tear wet face toward her.  I felt no shame or embarrassment to be crying in an old stone church in the Irish countryside in front of a woman I’d never met before. 

We stood together. 

Shoulder to shoulder. 

Kindred hearts joined by chance.

I don’t know how long we stood, but finally Mr. Jenny joined us.   “We need to get going,” he said.


“Wai!   Before you go let me show you the stables,” Anne said.

We had a whirlwind tour of the stable and some weathered tombstones and explored the nooks and crannies of the old church.  

“Tis wishing I am that I had some milk so I could give you coffee,” Anne said sweetly.


‘Tis wishing I was that she did have milk, because Mr. Jenny finally insisted it was time to go to meet our Grandlittles after school.

 Anne and I faced each other and embraced.  “We are kindred spirits,” Anne told me solemnly.  I nodded.   It was true.  I don’t know how, but it was true.

As we started to walk back up the church driveway, Anne called after us.   “Come back on Friday night.   We’re having a little concert here.   Come back and see us on Friday night at 7.”

“We’ll be back!     We’ll be back!   Thank you Anne, thank you!”

Mr. Jenny took my hand as we walked away through the rusted gates, around the bend and back across the beautiful stone bridge.

I squeezed his hand tightly in return.

 And felt very blessed to have met Anne in her little Irish church. 
This little story is linked to Alphabe-Thursday's letter A.   To read other A offerings, just click here.

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Sandra Black said...

Jenny I am so happy you met with Anne and you met with God in that wee church. God Bless you

Linda @ A La Carte said...

What a sweet story. Life is full of unexpected encounters that enrich our lives. So good to hear your writing voice again dear Jenny!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I DO believe that Anne is a kindred spirit for you! I love this story so much....I'm so happy that you shared it with me!! BTW: The song amazing grace makes me cry. every.single.time!!!
I hope you are doing well. You are loved and missed.

Sarah Beth said...

Oh my, Jenny, my heart is full and my eyes are crying. Such a beautiful post, such a beautiful place. I'm so glad you wrote this, it brings me back to a certain chapel of my youth which never failed to make me feel just the way you did in that small church.

Janie Junebug said...

I'm so glad you posted this story, Jenny. It's beautiful. Kindred spirits aren't easy to come by.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This was so beautiful and powerful to read, Jenny, as I also had an experience like this in Ireland many years ago.

My first visit to Ireland I was only 19 --my sister-in-law was born there and all her family live there, so she and my brother went to visit and I tagged along. There was a parade in her town and bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes--it was so beautiful it made me cry. We had lost my Dad just months before and I felt like the song was a message from him to us.

Jim said...

I love your "A" story. Such a happy time (joy) for you. Isn't Ireland so very pretty. That church looks real familiar to one we stopped at in Ireland. We didn't go in. Had we have then I would know if it was the same. I'll have to see if I can dig up a picture.
Glad to see you posting again,

Leovi Leovi said...

Nice pictures of Ireland! It's great to see that you have already restored their disease!

pasqueflower said...

What a wonderful encounter with your kindred spirit - an angel unawares? And SO happy you get to see your grandlittles!!

Gail said...

I was lost in this story. What a wonderful experience.

Theresa said...

What a blessing to meet Anne in that beautiful place! I pray that you are feeling better dear Jenny! Sending BIG HUGS an PRAYERS your way!

Gattina said...

How nice to read a post from you ! Unfortunately I couldn't see the pictures.

fredamans said...

I got choked up too. What a beautiful story. (((HUGS)))

Anita said...

Hello Jenny! What a pleasure to visit after being absent for awhile. Your stories are so beautifully written; even when sprinkled with pain. Will you and Anne be in contact again? The church is a treasure; I'm happy for you, Mr. Jenny and family; that you were able to spend time traveling together.

storybeader said...

what a sweet tale. Of course, I thought it was real. But it was, and so beautiful. I think of the people who built it, and wonder how long ago it was. It would be great to continue. {:-D

Esther Joy said...

What a precious time for you in the little church. I clicked on the pictures to enlarge them and enjoyed being able to take part in your tour!

Betty said...

What a wonderful story. The Irish countryside looks so green and the church so quaint. I believe you were meant to meet Ann. Did you go back on Friday?

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...


Brona Joy said...

I read your A & B stories back to front, but they didn't lose any of their poignancy in reverse order.

I feel like I've been sprinkled with leprechaun dust or touched by angel wings just by reading your story.

Bless you xo

EG CameraGirl said...

I am two weeks behind reading this story but will catch up today. This is such a great experience, Jenny! We don't meet many kindred spirits. And how wonderful this ancient church touched your spirit!

Annesphamily said...

Always lovely to read your writings here.