To suffer in a prison of our own design is Hell-on-Earth. But miracles may still be found around every corner. You just to have to believe. And, keep moving forward. Giving up can't be an option, even when you're so sad, you're unable to sleep, or get out of bed, or pay your bills. Even if all you can manage is one small accomplishment each day, like flossing or taking a shower--and no, I'm not kidding. Progress is still progress. With each step forward, you bring yourself closer to your miracle, no matter the size or speed of your particular steps.
Change itself is not worth a single tear; it is the very fires of impermanence that forge the depths of the human-soul. Losing your purpose, however, that is grief-incarnate. Because, it means you've lost your faith in humanity, too. More's the shame....
How can we love if all we've ever loved has betrayed us? How can we be open when we are punished, penalized and persecuted for it? And, how can we be generous when greed is seemingly more important than giving? Grief, the modus-operandi of insecure and fearful hearts and minds--people who would trade something as rare as real love for something as common as Gap jeans. No, I'm not kidding about that either. But, when we finally recognize that real love was not really traded in for a few paltry pairs of clothing, rather, it was traded in for the pay off of causing our pain, it's easier to stop grieving and start living again. Once that happens, there's nothing that can prevent you from rebuilding all you've lost...and more.
Betrayal is just another form of social-bullying. It's the adult version of being beaten up on the school bus. I dealt with a bully in high school. A girl I thought was my best friend. She attacked me, yet she was the one who walked away with a black-eye. It's interesting to note how that pattern has repeated over and over again. The people closest to me, trying to ruin me in some way, yet, all their efforts ever accomplish is their own ruin. I used to think of those people as teachers, but I am the one schooling them, aren't I???
Treachery of any kind is meant to undermine a better person, a more talented person, a smarter person, a more successful person...the list goes on and on and on. You see, betrayal is about jealousy, resentment, envy--nothing more, and nothing less. Whatever you are, whatever you have--it's something your destroyer wants but is unable to attain on their own. Getting close to a person who has what the destroyer feels entitled to is simply a method of indirect attainment. Unfortunately, living vicariously is never enough. That's when things get ugly. But only temporarily.
Betrayal is ultimately an opportunity for intelligent people to permanently clear toxicity from their lives. Being proactive instead of reactive, or, moving forward with gratitude instead of attitude, allows for what I call "miracle-momentum." You'll stop missing the things you lost when that happens. Because, you'll know you can create a far, far better world than the one you left behind.
I am living, breathing, walking, talking, and writing proof of ALL of the above. I was truly happy three years ago...perhaps the happiest I'd been in my entire lifetime. But betrayal removed my happiness because it also removed my agency. It took me more than two years of working through the grief from all the loss. Why? I lost almost everything a human being can lose in less than a year--except my life. Luckily, that's all any of us ever need to get another chance at another chance. Because I kept moving forward no matter what, I am happy again. Going home to Ireland was an important part of that journey. A journey back to myself.
Ireland is strong, protective arms holding you close, guiding you safely through forbidden, narrow passages on rocky terrain. Ireland is the bluest eyes you've ever seen looking at you in a way that makes you feel sexy, loved and wanted all at once--the same eyes that saw you, and your cane, and never blinked. Nor, balked. Ireland teases you about your bad parking job and notices your good one the very next day. Ireland shares a table with you at dinner, and a brownie sundae for dessert. Ireland laughs at your truly terrible jokes, reaches for your hand before saying goodbye, and makes love to you in a single, parting glance.
Ireland is unexpectedly finding familiar names on headstones in a random churchyard. Ireland is driving through any town in any county and seeing medieval ruins amidst a vibrant, lush landscape. Ireland is learning why you've always preferred vinegar on your fries (or chips!), and that your family comes from a city known for its eloquence and independent-thinking--both of which have marked your life. Ireland is being invited to a birthday party after talking to a new friend for only an hour. Ireland is closing down the pub at four-in-the-morning while chatting about life, and the very next night, holding court with seven Irishmen and one Scotsman until the wee hours, meandering through philosophy, numerology and why the stars shine in the night-sky. That is, until one of the lads suddenly gets teary-eyed, "Isn't she the most intelligent woman, boys? And, last night, she drank me under the table, too! The face of an angel and the constitution of a devil...have you ever seen anything more beautiful???"
Indeed, I have, mo chara...and that beauty is you. All of you.
Ireland today is millions upon millions of faces and faiths from around the globe. It is love, tolerance, acceptance, and approval. Twenty-first-century Ireland chooses solutions over problems, kindness over cruelty, compassion over judgment, faith over fear, positives over negatives, and gratitude instead of attitude. We're talking about a country and a people who were pitted against each other for hundreds upon hundreds of years. A land that survived famine, disease, poverty, and death. A place that thrived amidst invaders, invasions and the rape of its land and people. Perhaps that is why Ireland is so joyful in 2017. On the other side of those horrors, Ireland has found relative peace. Balance. Equity. And, by the way, Ireland is also the best culinary experience you'll ever have...as good as Paris, Venice, New York, or San Francisco. Ireland has a socio-cultural history that is as old as the Hindus, and older still. As deep as the Kabbalistic tomes. As wide as all the oceans in all the world.
Go raibh maith agat, Eire, mo anam chara....
An Irish "failte" or "welcome," ushers you through every door, each one more colorful than the next. Mine is always open to you as well. Even if 3,000 miles are between us, I'm only a phone call or text away. Whether a Colm or a Kevin, a Niall or an O'Neill, an Orla or a Patrick. a Ray of Sunshine, a Shane, a Tom, a Megan, or, a McInerney, know that you are loved beyond measure.
Though my heart was warmed by every inch of the land, it is Ireland's people who made it my home...even if only for a little while. Thanks to you, I'm not alone in the world anymore.
Neither are you....
*All photos: Copyright 2017 Rebecca Housel