Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His handOct 09, 2021
Do you know the Gaelic blessing that ends with this line–Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand?
The Gaelic Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.Traditional Gaelic Blessing
It’s a lovely blessing. And the choir my Dad used to sing in sang it at a concert a few years ago. I watched the concert below with my roommate the night after my dad died. This song made us both cry. I share it here, in case you want to see and hear this lovely choir. (I couldn’t figure out how to show just a clip, but the Gaelic blessing song is from 33:56 to 36:50.)
My dad loved singing in the choir–and he had quite a nice voice. He’s hard to see because he always put himself in the back row–but he’s the third from the left in the back. You can see his bald head and glasses from time to time.
He was a good man and I’m grateful. to have had him in my life for so many years.
Too Much and Never Enough
This week, my mom (who turns 90 tomorrow–happy birthday, Mom!) was trying to get Mary Trump’s book on her Kindle. I tried to help her from here in Colorado–she’s in Michigan. But we couldn’t figure it out. So she looked on my dad’s kindle. The book was already there. My dad had read to page 27.
Something about that pierced my heart. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that these past few days. About life and death. About dying in the middle of a book–in the middle of a day. I feel so grateful that my dad was still starting new things. Still interested in life–in the world around him. What would it be like, I wonder, to finish everything? I can’t imagine that ever happening. And I’m glad it didn’t happen for my dad. Even though his world got smaller, especially after he had COVID, he still enjoyed his life, still had things he wanted to do.
Then I started thinking about the title of the book. It’s an interesting title for the last book someone reads in their life. Never enough.
As I thought about all of this, a jumble of images came into my mind. I’m not sure how they fit together, but they have a kind of poetic logic, perhaps. You’ll see some of them in my golden shovel poem. The rest may show up elsewhere–maybe they just need more time to brew. But I knew that I needed to do something with the last line of that blessing. “In the palm of his hand” feels very powerful to me right now.
Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand:
A golden shovel poem
Life goes along, one day follows the next, Until
You reach page 27. What happens on page 28? We
Will never know who the protagonist might Meet
Or if they’ll make the same mistake once Again.
We can assume the flowers will bloom again in May
We can hope that we are always held in the hands of God
Even though we will never again Hold
One another here on earth-I’ll never again see your smile or hear you sing. You
have flown away, like the white eagle in my dream. But no, he flew In
through the window and into my heart. And you remain there with him. The
wings that beat quietly in the night, and I see you in the paint that stains my Palm —
Paint you gave me long ago because I love to paint pictures Of
dream eagles and trees and freedom. You were 92–but it was never enough. Your His-
Story still lives on in your family, the sculptures you shaped from wood or clay– all that was blessed to be touched by your Hand.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
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