Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese visited my town this week and my heart sung! She unfolded stories from her life as a child in the kitchen, as a mother coaxing a child out of bed, as a negotiator around the Good Friday Peace Agreement table and as a loved and loving wife to a lifelong partner and an icing on the cake tale telling the Vatican it is bonkers. Music to my ears in message and lilt. It was one of those nights when I fell in love with my city. The Adelaide Town Hall was tightly stacked and plenty of people left to hear the podcast and live stream as there was literally not a spare seat.
Mary’s tales were of partnerships, friendships, conversations and the power of tea and buns. Nothing can be built without respect and no respect can be offered without the simple truth of recognising we are all walking the same journey and have a yearning for justice and peace … even though we might separate on how that might be achieved.
Terrorism once invisible and hidden in the shadows is now publicly displayed on every media platform available. The brutality and horror is front and centre. The sophistication of technologically charged drones that are managed by gamers recruited from online game parks are matched against the disenchanted and disenfranchised youth seeking adventure and martyrdom for their cause. What is hidden behind screens and balaclavas are not much different to each other. Mary McAleese insisted her suitors in the peace process come in the front door for all the world to see, no back rooms, no balaclavas.
When there is no light, all it takes is for a candle to be lit and sitting in the Adelaide Town Hall this week I thought of all the candles that would have been lit in prayer and with hope to bring about the peace process in Northern Ireland. I thought of all the candles I have lit to give me a boost and to remind me that it is in the light that I can see more clearly. I thought of all the candles that might be needed to bring about the peace in our world in all the places where darkness is making its home.
Coming into the light, and beckoning others to do the same, so that together you can all clearly see more of what can be done together will bring clarity and peace.
I’m a little over leaning in and think that lighting up is the way to go.
Beautiful reflection Moira. It was a wonderful evening, I’m still basking in the glow. Mary McAlease is a great icon of our time. She has clearly found peace and love in her own heart and works everyday to spread that love. A quote I particularly liked was – ‘a word of kindness can bring love & light to a closed heart, where a word of criticism will shut down that heart to even more bitterness’ we must all remember this in our daily lives and be kind to everyone that we meet. It was a pleasure to spend this beautiful evening with Moira – here’s to many more evenings of ‘lighting up’
Thanks Ciara I agree more lighting up!
Pauline Small said:
Moira, I started reading this and then got waylaid – as happens. I was so sad to miss out on the talk itself, but I did listen later on. Reading your blog made me feel as if I was there. I plan one day in a year or two to visit Ireland, the home of my ancestors. Mum’s maternal side came into Port Willunga on a ship. I love looking at the old jetty posts there in the sea and wonder about them, and how they felt disembarking. The ruin of their old house is opposite the Willunga Bowling club.
I have been rereading a series of talks that Mary gave at a John Main seminar/retreat back in 1994. I am loving seeing how she celebrated each little glimmer of hope gained through sometimes justsmall personal actions, or small group connections, never knowing how things would change such a short time later. It reminded me that they could have given in and thought it hopeless, and how important their tenacity was.
Thank you. I do always enjoy reading your work and feel very glad that you and I are in the same world.
Thank you Pauline, I really appreciate your kind thoughts and lovely to sojourn with you too.