This Letter B is also the second part of Letter A. It just happened that way and it's not really going to be a continuing story but more of an exercise to write about the experience.
If you want to read the letter A first, you can find it here.
Be still and know…
That I am God?
That this is a moment out of time?
That this time and place and will never happen again?
Or perhaps it was all of the above.
We drove across a narrow, ancient stone bridge.
Around a bend in a road hedged with ferns and fuschia.
And attempted to pull into the parking lot of the tiny, ancient stone church nestled into the small glen of verdant greenery that was the rural Irish countryside.
Mr. Jenny was driving.
On the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Our middle Grandlittle was sitting white-knuckled in the back seat of our rented van.
We took no pictures that evening. This is just another picture of Mr. Jenny and our middle Grandlittle.
The parking lot was crammed.
Light spilled from the open arched doorway of the old church illuminating a group of gathered Irish churchgoers.
Mr. Jenny was not being reverent. A few heathen words escaped his lips as he attempted to back into a tight parking spot. Middle Grandlittle and I giggled. And offered advice. Neither of which was well received. If laughter and back-slapping was any indication, the little crowd of watchers greatly enjoyed watching his attempts much more than we did.
Finally, muttering about steering wheels in the wrong place and backseat drivers, Mr. Jenny turned off the engine and glanced up to see his audience.
He was not amused.
His crankiness soon went away when we were greeted with open arms, literally, by our new friend, Anne. We hugged and smiled and hugged and smiled and she said something lovely and musical like, ” ‘Tis happy I am to see you and your lovely wee Grandchild. I’ve saved a place for you all.”
She escorted us into the little stone church and up the center aisle. Each dark oak gated pew was crowded with families and candle light flickered across the altar adorned with musicians as well as hydrangea and boxwood bouquets.
She led us to the second from the front pew and opened the little gate to allow us in.
A woman in her 40’s and a thin, dark young man in his early 20’s were already seated. They stood and let us by and we shuffled in…Mr. Jenny sat closest to the wall and our Grandlittle was sandwiched between us.
The surface of the pew was piled high with pillows and we weren’t sure what to do with them. I asked the woman next to me and she laughed and said to put as many as we wanted beneath our bottoms for comfort. Our Grandlittle was delighted with that reponse.
My fellow pillowed-pew sharer and I struck up a lively, whispered conversation as the musicians tuned up.
To be candid I could hardly understand her and I suspect it was mutual. Amidst much laughing, though, I discovered it was her son seated by her…he was incredibly nervous because he was playing the organ during the program…and that she was terribly proud of him for winning some kind of country wide organ contest. She had just begun whispering questions about America when Anne stepped to the front of the little church.
She offered a warm and lovely welcome to the gathering.
Our Granddaughter held tightly to both of our hands and then angels came to let their voices dance to the rafters of the church.
It was beyond beautiful.
There were two harps. There was a violin. There was a penny whistle. There was a guitar and another instrument I’ve never seen before.
There were beautiful harmonious voices woven together in folk songs and in hymns.
There was a charming little boy who walked solemnly to the front and played a violin.
His little brother came after and played the trumpet. His cowlick trembled with his efforts.
We tapped our toes.
Our eyes filled with tears.
I squeezed my Grandlittles warm hand and the woman next to me held mine.
“Be still, Jenny,” I told myself. “Remember these beautiful moments.”
I think I actually held my breath trying to remember.
After an hour or so of music, Anne once again stood in the front of the church.
“This is intermission. Please join us in the hall for refreshments.”
She smiled broadly at us and made a motion toward the rear door. We stood and prepared to join our fellow music lovers.
This little part of our Irish travel story is linked to the letter B. B is for Be Still. To read other B offerings, just click here.