I was raised with an Irish blessing that unknowingly helped guide me through life. The prayer was displayed on the wall in our humble kitchen. I remember it was carved out of wood with delicately painted green clovers around the verse. The blessing went like this:
“May the road rise to find you,
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face,
and may the rains fall gently on your fields.
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand. “(Author unknown)
My mother was 100% Irish and she loved this blessing because the message reflected her intention to teach her four children to appreciate the simple things in life and that God is always present. She felt we were lucky by the very nature of our Irish ancestral blood. He prided himself on the strength and resourcefulness of his ancestors. She taught me that I was lucky to be born Irish, even though I am only 50%. I quickly learned to blame the unfortunate events in my life on the other half of my inheritance that came from my alcoholic father. Despite being raised in a crazy and chaotic home, I learned to value the intangible gift of feeling supported by the divine as in this Irish blessing. The image of the sun on my face illuminating my path and the wind at my back urging me to keep going carried me through many difficult passages. The gift of Mother Nature, showering my dreams with rain so that my hope and faith in myself and in life could grow, has sustained me. And finally, the image of God holding me like a holy child, gives me a sense of protection and care.
My mom always reminded me and my three siblings that when the going got tough, the luck of the Irish was always with us. As we struggled with poverty and alcoholism in our home, she remained steadfast in her perspective that we were lucky because there were people far worse than us. If we forgot how lucky we were to live in a small house in the country, she would put the four children in the car and go to the center of the city, where the children did not have patios to play with. It also reminded us of our ancestors who survived the great potato famine in Ireland and that we came from an abundant family. She located memories of her own childhood, being one of ten children who shared two rooms. He then told us how the ten children grew up and graduated from college despite their frugal education.
In hindsight, I now see that I was programmed to feel lucky from a young age. This sense of luck had nothing to do with fame or fortune. Instead, the luck I was taught was to count my blessings and trust God no matter what. I also learned that if I worked hard and sacrificed my short-term goals for long-term rewards, I would live a lucky life. So even though from time to time I would look at others and think that they were luckier than me because they had more material gain, more knowledge, traveled the world or seemed to be more successful than me, I would stop and remember that simple Irish blessing and give thank you that I was held in the hands of God with the sun on my face and the wind on my back. May the luck of the Irish be with you too.