My Road Full of Promise, My Head Full of Doubt

Ever since I was a boy, I've wanted to, one day, move to Ireland. It has been my unattainable goal, my unreachable destination. My eyes have had shamrocks and green hills and grey skies in them and my appetite for Guinness has been insatiable. There are times when I wake up, look out the window to a particularly overcast day and my heart swoons, "What I wouldn't give to be in Ireland right now, too ra loo ra loo ra."

My fascination began when I was eight years old. My class was having our international day fair and it was each student's assignment to build a poster board presentation for their country of choice. At that time in my life, I was fascinated with the Czech Republic because there's a large portion of my father's family from former Czechoslovakia. My presentation was decent enough, but nothing special. It seemed nobody else my age really cared about the former Soviet bloc.

One of my friends, Andrew Hansen, chose Ireland. If you had ever met this kid, you'd immediately know why: he was a tiny, pasty white ginger kid with the clearest green eyes and the brightest red hair. He was Irish Catholic, a Notre Dame fanatic and was one of the sweetest, most cheerful kids in the school.

For whatever reason, I decided early on that he would be nemesis and that I hated him. Obviously.

However, even I, in all my hatred for the Ginger Boy Wonder, couldn't help but gaze in wonderment at his glorious display for Ireland. It was heavenly -- the most beautiful pictures of rolling green meadows, and castles, and grey skies, and rosy cheeked people playing instruments in pubs and on street corners. He even had his mother bake homemade Irish soda bread for the class and he brought in a boombox that played a CD of Van Morrison with the Chieftains. And when I ate of the bread and drank deep the sounds of that album, my blood turned green and my heart beat with the rhythm of "Cockles and Mussels (Alive-Alive-Oh!)"

And, indeed, I felt alive. That was the moment I decided I wanted to live in Ireland for the rest of my life. Of course, when my grandmother on my mother's side informed me that my blood is MOSTLY Irish, that only added fuel to the fire.

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A few years ago, I was surfing YouTube and found a video made by my (now) friend, Kyle Holland.

My heart was so broken by the interviewees that I embedded to the video to my MySpace and urged all my friends to join me in intercession and prayer for the country. I was surprised, a few days later, when Kyle emailed me and asked me about my desire to move to the country. I was even more surprised when I told my pastor about the email and found out that my pastor actually had known Kyle for quite a while. They went to a ministry training called Maranatha! together.

That was in 2006 or '07. Ever since I've been assuring Kyle that I've wanted to come to Youghal (the city he lives in) and help him with church plants, by leading worship or whatever. Sadly, that has yet to happen. It seems that whenever I have the opportunity to go, the opportunity gets dashed against the rocks. Everytime I save up enough money to go, I have to spend it on something; whenever I have time to go, I get a job; whenever I earn time to take off work, I get laid off and lose all the money I'd been saving up on trying to survive. It's always something.

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For the past week or so, Ireland has, once again, been on my heart and mind, so I've been praying for the country and trying to get caught up on recent news. Then, Ireland started coming up in everyday conversation with friends. Then, I started receiving an Irish e-newsletter in my email that I never renewed my subscription for and stopped receiving about a year ago. After all that, Kyle sent me a comment on Facebook that simply asked, "What are your plans now?"

Could all these occurrences by coincidences?

Ireland has never left my mind; I want to go there now just as much as I always have, if not moreso. However, now, unlike my teenage years or my college years, I have responsibilities -- I have bills to pay, careers to pursue and jobs to work. And, right now, I'm in the running for a very good job in Chicago. In fact, I'm the forerunner for the position. And this isn't just some job -- it's a legitimate career that has amazing pay and great benefits. And, if I got it, I'd be able to fulfill my other life-long dream of moving to Chicago.

And there, as the Bard says, lies the rub.

I am torn between two dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Go to Ireland. Do you realize how AMAZING that would be?? I mean, you've been to Chicago a million times before, right? Do something new. Get out of this place for awhile. Whatever you do, make sure God's in it.

    Either way, I'll be praying for your decision.