My dear reader,
It’s been said that there are only two kinds of people in the world:
The Irish… and those that wish they were.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I was always the girl with the wish. My “real” Irish friends and family proudly (sham)rocked and relished their special day. (Usually for several days.) And I wistfully watched their eating/drinking/dancing/merrymaking from afar. Such fun for those Irish lads and lasses… pinching, kissing, clinking all the day long.
And then there was me. So very Un-Irish.
And green with envy.
No rainbows or pots of gold for me. No shamrock socks or sparkly green earrings. No Irish soda bread or boxty. No pranking or pub crawling or jigging or hurling (the sport, not the unfortunate aftermath of the pub crawling). And despite hours spent sitting and searching in the grassy field behind Lincoln Junior High School, not a single four-leaf clover. Not one.
My only consolation was my U2 mixtape and a big bowl of Lucky Charms. (Those pastel marshmallows really are magically delicious.)
When I was in college, a bunch of us went downtown to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade and gaze at the 8th Wonder of the Windy City:
The gloriously green Chicago River.
If you’ve never seen it, you should. At least once. It’s quite something. The Butler and Rowan clans pool their cash… and dye the whole waterway slime green. (Seriously, it’s the color of Slime. Remember that stuff? I can’t believe our parents let us spend money on that lump of neon nothing.)
That little ‘L’ train excursion was the highlight of my St. Patrick’s Day memories.
My brother did one of those DNA swab tests last year.
AND GUESS WHAT?!
I’m a wee bit Irish!
(Nine percent, give or take.)
Apparently, somebody back in our family tree hailed from the Emerald Isle. Which may explain my smiling eyes, these freckles, and my fair share of feisty.
But I’m probably not Irish enough to be called Lass… alas.
(That won’t stop me from celebrating with wild abandon my newly-acquired holiday.)
Now that I’m officially (sorta) Irish, I’m kicking off my day with a cheery “Top o’ the morning,” a Kerrygold bulletproof coffee, and a St. Paddy’s Day playlist on Pandora. I’m planning to wear an emerald – ok, green foil – tiara and whip up some homemade shamrock shakes. For dinner. (When it comes to wild abandon, I don’t play.)
And I shan’t forget to give thanks for the Saint who made it all possible… Maewyn Succat.
Yes, that’s reportedly the given name for dear old Saint Patrick.
(Not sure where he picked up his new moniker, but I do think it worked out for the best. “Happy St. Succat’s Day” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So all’s well that ends well.)
The “Apostle of Ireland” was a missionary and church bishop who – legend has it – used shamrocks to help explain the mystery of the Trinity. The three leaflets of each shamrock symbolizing the Father, Son, and Spirit: three distinct Persons, three parts of One Whole-and-Holy God. Pretty clever guy, that Maewyn.
Humble and grateful too, apparently.
“I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people…
“And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son…” (Saint Patrick’s Confession)
So it turns out Saint Patrick was… well… a sinner. Just like the rest of us. We’re all wretches, the whole lot of us. Some fighters or drunks. Some liars, cheats, or back-stabbing snakes. Even the “nice girls” and “good guys” have some mean/bad/ugly in us. Even the best and kindest among us are selfish screw-ups (or stubborn fools) at times.
And deep down, we know it, don’t we? Because deep down, there’s guilt/shame/blame that’s all ours. And we can’t cover it up no matter how hard we try. So we drag it along behind us like an overloaded suitcase with a busted zipper and a broken wheel. Eventually, the weight of it will slow us to a stop. Or the whole mess will start spilling out.
That’s the thing about guilt. It’s heavy stuff. And there’s only one place to unload it for good.
Give your guilt to Him.
(He can take it.)
And the best news is… in exchange, He’ll give you sweet freedom. A clean slate. A fresh start.
For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. (2 Corinthians 5:19, TLB)
When I owned up to my ugliness and pleaded forgiveness, God didn’t turn me away. Instead, He showered me in mercy.
And showed me the Way.
P.S. Got guilt? Give it to God… and grab hold of His amazing grace. It’s a gift. (Signed in blood, sealed with a promise, delivered direct from heaven.) Just ask, and it’s yours.
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (Ephesians 1:7, NLT)
Pour out your heart to God and soak up His love and mercy.
It’ll be grand. 🍀