You know, there is nothing in Ireland like a rainy spring morning by an open window. Have you ever tried it? It would do you good to give it a go just once with a wee drop of ‘tay’ to warm the hand. I have no doubt it is how the world was intended to be savoured and it is about as close to the peace of heaven as you are likely to know in this life (excepting the Eucharist of course). Hearing patter of droplets hitting grass mingled with the medley of bird carols calling collectively for love and life is a contentment no man should omit, a peace no soul should be deprived. It makes you wonder why so many people have chosen to gift their precious hours to such superficial entertainments as found on television or computer screens, large or little, when so much human achievement awaits the man adventurous enough to advance his mind beyond his front door. Notice, the operative word in that sentence is “his”. You see, what enhances significantly, the experience of sitting by your window looking out is knowing that you have a plot of land you have shaped or could shape with your own hands. It is reveling in the creative potential of that land and contemplating the many ways you can mould it to your own image. It just adds to the satisfaction.
The history of Ireland has been notably carved by a struggle for land. In that struggle is the desire to live, to lead, to protect, to provide for yourself and your family. It is the spirit of the father, the calling of the man to make provision for those placed in his care. To pull from the earth creation, to bear fruit for the good of those loved is a special accomplishment.
The great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, delivered successfully in his work Digging, the profound concept of Irish ancestral connection with the land and the elemental masculine thirst to form, build, develop, create what you conceive. In the poem he relates his father digging with a spade and compares it to his own digging, except now, with a pen. Like his father, his father’s father and the many men who came before him, Heaney masterfully describes the human freedom to craft and create:
In the same way as Heaney looked down upon his father from his upstairs window, we too can contemplate ancestry from our spring morning windows and consider now the possibilities our imaginations offer the boundaries of our own land. There is no limit to what creation we can imagine springing forth from our soil. Every man should be entitled to the freedom to provide a life for his family from the land and be satisfied. This basic right to live should be divorced from all interference from outside parties. Yet alas, a weight hangs heavy around the shoulders of our young men with their young families and young dreams.
The weight and the scourge of all those who just want to live at peace in Ireland are the selfish ambitions of those who acknowledge no limits and are willing to accumulate mountains of more. They seek this even if it means taking advantage of other humans. The world is filled with men who want more and can never be satisfied with what they have. Impoverished are the men who have so much but yet they always seek to add to their possessions. Politicians and bankers today work together to devise ingenious ways of enticing people to part with their money. Mortgages, which appear a wonderful invention at first, soon betray their deceit when they move beyond the financial grasp of the common man.
Paradoxically, this happens because we Irish people have this unwillingness to curb our own personal cravings for more. We reject limits on what we can own and so our hunger to buy means sellers will raise prices. The higher the prices rise, the more money we look for. The more money we need to buy, the more we need to be paid. We pursue education for better jobs and then the cost of education grows. We want the best cars and homes until even the smallest homes move beyond the financial grasp of the most educated. All we want to do is rest but we work night and day to achieve it…and it never comes. The economy grows but we become poor because we work harder and struggle more to pay off the many debts we accumulate. We think we have freedom to pursue dreams of wealth. In reality we become more and more enslaved to the debt manipulated by the bankers and politicians who become richer and grin wider.
So what are we to do? Simple! A man with his family could easily live a satisfying life on a small parcel of land and feel more free and fulfilled from crafting with his own hands and enjoying the fruit of his labour. Why do we exert so much energy fighting for a job and education when we could be happy and peaceful on our own land? Why not spend our energy fighting against the forces that keep us from owning and living our Irish land in freedom? 1. We should be fighting with revolution against those people who have pushed the prices of land beyond the reach of most men. 2. We also should be meditating upon our own human nature. Something is very wrong. The banks now own most of our Irish land and they have pushed the price of that land beyond our grasp. How is this any different from the landlords of the English in the 19th century? Something needs to change as we head toward another financial collapse.
Yet the answer to the whole thing is very simple and the power is always in our hands. Indeed, “simple” is the answer if only we had the strength for it. Simplicity itself will free us from slavery. Ireland’s ancestry of simplicity has always been our people’s most beautiful quality. Can we continue to allow that simplicity to be eroded by intemperate men? If only we could at least adopt once again the mentality of living simply from what we have and experiencing the beauty and joy of the paradise we live within. It should be enough. It should be everything we want. Only then will be content. Only then will we find rest.
However, the bankers are banking that we cannot. If we could meditate on simplicity and live it one person at a time, we can remove these financial tyrants from our midst. We can return Ireland to its beauty, the humility of simplicity where we will all sit by our windows on a spring morning and delight in the song of birds reveling in what we own and what our hearts have forged.
Our Lady Queen of Peace, Pray for us.
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