In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this weekend’s posts on gratitudeequation will tell a gratitude-filled story of how Ireland has given me my place in this world. I hope you’ll tune in for all three posts, and most of all I hope they inspire you to think about the places in your life that have given you more than you could have expected. Enjoy!
The room was hot and windowless and my British Literature professor’s voiced resembled the droning buzz of a bee. My eyes blinked, once, twice, over and over until I snapped myself to attention again.
I needed a distraction, and her lecture was not providing it. I wandered through my textbook, ignoring the section on Byron we were covering, flipping to the back. I turned the page and found this:
I had never been a great lover of poetry until that moment. It woke me up, not just in the overheated classroom, but in life. I needed to read more of this poet, Seamus Heaney’s work. I needed to go to the Flaggy Shore in September or October. I wanted to feel something so strongly that it could blow my heart open.
That day, I was grateful for the poem because it awakened something in me that hadn’t been there before. It awakened some realization that I was a small, but vital piece, “neither here nor there, a hurry through which known and strange things pass,” to a much larger puzzle. That’s why I was grateful for the poem then, at the age of 20.
Today, seven years later, I have so many bigger, more earth-shattering reasons to be grateful for that poem. It gave me the only experience I will ever be able to say is truly my own. It gave me confidence that I had struggled to find prior. It gave me proof that all the little things really do come full circle in the form of something much, much bigger.
How, you ask? That’s a story for tomorrow, when we’ll cross an ocean, hitchhike our way along the coast, and meet a friend of a friend. I’m grateful for the chance to share it with you, and I hope you’ll come along.