Tag Archives: Ireland

God likes small places…

Line Drawing of Restaurant by Jenny Beale

Roseleen’s Restaurant’s entrance, by Jenny Beale

Twenty years ago I published God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant, a small book of reflective meditations about my time working as a waitress in Ireland. Can two decades go by just like that? Twenty years ago I was 44 years old, living in a round wooden house in Kinvara, a small village on the West Coast of Ireland. I had just met and fallen in love with my Dutch husband. We would marry in May the next year and have our wedding feast at Roseleen’s.

When I got the job as a waitress, I was an unemployed technical writer with little knowledge of either psychosynthesis or Assagioli. But (as always) I was searching…

Waitressing in Ireland – the performance of this simple everyday task – unexpectedly led me to the Divine. Not only did I discover God amongst the cutlery, boiled potatoes, Irish eccentrics and lost tourists, I also discovered my own human limitations and vulnerability. God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant is a collection of vignettes that capture Irish character and wit and reveal one woman’s soul in her daily meditations on Universal Love.

This is what Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, has to say about God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant:

“This charming and deceptively simple book re-awakens the kind of sentiments that ultimately form the foundation of social justice and world peace. The meaning of life is to be found in a small restaurant in a small place as seen by an author with a large heart and a great imagination.”

After five years of writing this blog, I have decided to dust off the pages of God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant and take a brief pause from my usually “Love and Will” reflections. For the next few months, I will offer you my voice from twenty years ago, the voice a younger woman during younger times – before Kinvara was riddled with gigantic €500,000 homes, the world was oblivious to smartphones and Facebook, and the Twin Towers stood tall in NYC.

I hope you enjoy the journey – both in time and space. The place itself – Roseleen’s Restaurant – disappeared a long time ago. Today there is a supermarket with a guest house above. Roseleen still lives in Kinvara.  With much gratitude, I thank her for letting me share her beautiful paintings as part of this series.

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Artwork by Roseleen Tanham, http://kava.ie/rosaleen-tanham/

And now…let’s begin…

Introduction to God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant

God is persistent. I learned this after receiving my third rejection letter when seeking work as a technical writer of computer manuals, a job I’ve performed successfully for the past twelve years. “We are sorry, but you are overqualified and too highly-skilled.”

God has a sense of humor. I learned this after ordering a cup of coffee and a scone at Rosaleen’s new restaurant. “Catherine, do you want to work as a waitress?” Rosaleen’s eyes pleaded with me. It was May, and every young girl in Kinvara was busy studying for her Leaving Cert — the Irish college entrance exams that determine, not only where you can study, but also what you can study. I had waitressed twenty-five years before. I laughed with God, and said yes to Rosaleen.

God has a plan. I learned this as a waitress at Rosaleen’s Restaurant. On my very first day, I realized I was going to learn more about myself and life in general while working for five hours in Rosaleen’s Restaurant than I had in more than a decade of working in front of my computer screen.

God likes small places. Kinvara has a population of about 3000 people and is nestled in a crook of Galway Bay in the West of Ireland. It is a place of megalithic tombs, holy wells, a 14th century castle, ancient cairns, Irish music, and weekly set-dancing.

God likes big places. Like the hearts of all the people I worked with, served, and met. Like your heart and mine too.

God is not dead. God is alive and in Rosaleen’s Restaurant. I promise, if you look, you’ll find God alive in your life too. That’s why I wrote this book. To help you to look.

The Vivid Color of Ixoras

freedom to pollute with bronze statue of refugee

Statue of Liberty carrying the declaration “Freedom to Pollute” next to a bronze statue of climate change refugee, at the Bonn Climate Change Conference.

It’s been a week since the closing of the Bonn Climate Change Conference. A small victory occurred with the passing of a global insurance plan that by 2020 will help protect 400 million poor and vulnerable people around the world. The project, called the InsuResilience Global Partnership, aims to provide insurance against damage caused by global warming.

Naturally, this project is fraught with controversy. Instead of having the richer nations, who are generally the bigger polluters, pay for climate disaster relief, this initiative actually pushes poor people in poor countries to pay an insurance premium.

016705 Dante on greed

Assagioli’s note on greed from his Archives,

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Stones and Seaweed (Part II of II)

Paidraich and his wall

Padriach with a bucket of seaweed standing in front of the stone wall he built with his two hands.

Summer is here again, and so I thought I would dig out a story from fifteen years ago, something I wrote while my husband and I spent six weeks on the island of Inishere, Ireland, helping Anita and Paraic with their new B&B and café not to mention their farm and four kids. I will always be grateful to them for their hospitality during the summer of 2001.

This is long story for a blog and comes in two parts. I hope you enjoy it and your summer!

Inishere has one shop, three pubs, and a chipper (a place to buy fried foods), an art center displaying the resident artist’s work, a hotel, and a new library. Groceries were ordered by phone and delivered three times a week. This naturally altered our attitude to shopping and nothing was taken for granted. Still Kees and I had no desire to leave.

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Stones and Seaweed (Part I of II)

 

Inishere beach

Seal ag buain duilisg do charraig, seal ag aclaidh, seal ag tabhairt bhídh do bhoctaibh, seal i gcaracair.

(A while gathering dillisk from the rock, a while fishing, a while giving food to the poor, a while in my cell.)   – Irish monk (12th century?)

Summer is here again, and so I thought I would dig out a story from fifteen years ago, something I wrote while my husband and I spent six weeks on the island of Inishere, Ireland, helping Anita and Paraic with their new B&B and café not to mention their farm and four kids. I will always be grateful to them for their hospitality during the summer of 2001.

This is long story for a blog and comes in two parts. I hope you enjoy it and your summer!

An hour by ferryboat from the city of Galway, Inishere (also known as Inis Oírr) means Eastern Island as it is the closest Aran Island to the mainland and the furthest east. This tiny island (2-1/2 by 1-1/2 miles) has been inhabited for 3500 years and Gaelic is the spoken language of the islanders. It has a population of about 300 people, and nearly everyone is related to someone else. Approximately 30,000 visitors descend on the island every year.

Anita, Paraic, and their children were there to meet us in their tractor when we disembarked from the boat. We greeted each other with hugs and kisses, loaded our bags onto the back of their tractor and climbed aboard. Tightly crunched inside the small cab and cushioned by children on our laps, we sighed with relief as the noisy engine pulled us up the hill to their spacious home.

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