Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Update and an Oireachtas Prayer

I beg the indulgence of readers for the rather long pause in blogging action. Late in the evening of November 10th, I learned that a former student had taken his own life. The news reached his classmates on Sunday morning and, while I was playing a feis in Chicago, I seized every break I could to respond to the texts sent by his classmates, to answer phone calls, or just to pray quietly for the young man's peace and for consolation for his family.

The week that followed found me on a hastily booked flight back to Detroit (thank the Lord for reward mileage) where I attended the wake and the funeral. It was not exactly the homecoming I would have liked, but I'm glad that I had an opportunity to be present to the family and to lend an ear to students as they grieved. Since my return to Boston on Saturday, I've found myself to be possessed of little energy and I'm particularly grateful for the holiday weekend and hope to use these days for refreshment.

It seems strange to say this but, I believe this may be only the 2nd time in 22 years that I'm not going to be going to Mid-American Oireachtas. The Mid-American Orieachtas is a regional Irish dancing championship competition and I attended as a spectator for the first twelve years and then as a musician for the last ten. All of my teenage and adult memories of Thanksgiving involve hotels and Irish dancing, so it's a bit surreal to think that I'm going to miss the whole event. With all that has happened this month, perhaps it is a good thing that I'm not playing: I really do feel the need to rest.

I would like, however, to offer a prayer for those who are going to be competing this weekend, both in Grand Rapids and in Philadelphia (Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas).

An Oireachtas Prayer

Good and Gracious God,
We place ourselves in your presence and invite
your Spirit as we begin this year's Oireachtas.
We have practiced.
We have rehearsed. 
We have sacrificed for the love of Irish dance.
We have invested time and money and effort. 
Lord, we ask only that you help us to do our best this Day.
May we remember that underneath 
the wigs, the dresses, the sparkles, the make-up, and the sock glue
that we dance with bodies and talents you gave us. 
With every click and every treble, O Lord, 
may we give you glory 
and celebrate the the gift of our teachers 
who have shown us how to dance. 

Lord, in twenty years, it will be hard to recall how we placed. 
Time will have faded our memories of where we stood on the podium
or what medal we took home.
We will remember, though, the good times we have shared
and we will tell with delight the stories we remember. 
Bless this weekend, Bless our dancing,
and bless those who have given us the gift of Irish dance. 

May we all dance today as we hope to dance in eternity:
members of the heavenly ceili
dancing to You, the music of our lives.

We pray this through Christ our Lord, 
our Teacher, our Musician, our Music, and our Metronome. 

Amen. 


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