Wandering

by - July 03, 2017

I woke up just before my alarm went off at 3 am this morning, and I was so glad it didn’t jar me out of a dead sleep.  It’s always better when I’m able to drift back to awake.  As soon as I opened my bedroom door the smell of Folger’s classic roast hit me in the face and I was thankful for a coffee pot that can be programmed the night before. What an unnecessary and wonderful invention.  I filled the cup (also programmed the night before), and went back to a little table with an old lamp and half burnt candle, and opened the Word that would give me strength for this day and undoubtedly the days to come. The ribbon bookmark was holding the page for Luke 20:41-47.  Jesus answered a lot of questions with questions. Although he knew the answers to the questions, he chose to respond to the motives of the person/people who were doing the asking.  He knew why they asked.  He knew what they were trying to get at. He knew when it was hurt, fear, doubt, or pride that motivated their questions.  He’s still good at that. He knows why we have questions.  He’s not afraid to answer them as he reveals our motives and calms and heals the sometimes thinly veiled heart of our question.  Reading Luke’s letter to a man named Theophilus to explain what and who Jesus was and is, is a great place to watch what Jesus did and why. If a respected doctor you knew wrote you a letter about some pretty amazing things that were going on, would you read it?  Would you save it?  Would you share it?  Theophilus did.

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That was the only paragraph I wrote before this trip that I’m at the conclusion of as I type this from window seat 25A pointed against the wind toward the east coast of America.  Sixteen days feels a lot longer than it looks on the little calendar on my phone.  It usually does when I’m so far from home.  My first stop was to meet up with a colleague, who has become a good friend after several years of working and traveling together. Our planes from different countries landed thirty minutes apart in an old city in Europe where I never imagined going and now have been several times.  I know what train to get on for the city center, which Cathedral is my favorite, and where to get an amazing cup of coffee in a beautiful little pot.  No one there recognizes me or knows my name, but I know my own little bit about their city.  Our walk around plan prior to our next flight was cut short after some undesired but welcome intel, but it was good to have a little extra time to nap off jet lag before the next leg of the journey.

We left Europe for Western Asia where more friends with multiple accents, cultures, and histories gathered. It was the first time to have plans with one set of accents.  At the conclusion of four days together Hope and friendships had grown.  One man said he did not know I was a woman when he agreed to join us, and he was disappointed on our first day to find me as such.  He has been a shepherd of people for many years and said he did not think learning from me would be possible.  “But,” he said with a smile, “this week has proven that with God all things are possible.”  *gulp* God has led me to lay down many notions in many nations, and I fully believe that, too.  I appreciated his gracious frankness.  God is more than we think and faithful to accomplish everything he says he will do.  He was faithful to me and my friends, for our good and his glory.  Then. Sings. My. Soul.

We took a day off in which I took two naps during what was a more than welcomed rainy day. Then we began five days with a different set of accents that I’ve come to be familiar with over the last several years.  I still can not begin to comprehend their words or their lives.  But, I know Who knows them.  And He brings us together to share a few moments of our lives with each other. It’s a mystery to me, but being convinced of his Presence, his power, and his goodness we come together in his name.  No. Turning. Back.

My friends with many accents have lots of questions that in our moments together God gives us a special freedom to discuss. The very nature of our conversations to be prepared to help one another allows it to be a safe place to pose some lingering, sometimes previously unspoken, thoughts. I’ve asked a lot of questions over the years, too. I’ve asked who and what and when and where and how. I’ve debated.  I’ve tried to trap him with his own Word…” but you said, so shouldn’t you…” I’ve reasoned.  I’ve thought I was so smart.  So sure. Until these recent years when I dug in, began letting go, and committed to stop asking so many questions and just start saying yes.

Sometimes saying yes has led me to be hurt, rejected and ignored. I sneak a few questions in during those times…. “why, again?” My life does not fit into any reasonable (in my understanding) box and sometimes, even in my gratitude, that makes me feel like such a weirdo.  I think Jesus knows my motive when I ask him why. Whether hurt, fear, doubt, or pride, he seems to be more interested in my heart and motives than answering my questions.  As he forms my inner being from one degree of glory to the next, my momentary questions take a backseat to my resolve to trust this Shepherd who is my one constant. I have so little to give. Only my whispered, sometimes anxious yes, but then he tears down walls and grows gardens with it.  When I take my eyes off him I sink like a rock into doubt. But when my eyes are on him I see mountains and oceans and tears and smiles and lands and sky.  I hear hearts and accents and whispers of the way to walk and praise. He gives so much with just a yes. Which convinces me to give the next yes.

On my way home this time, he gave me a wee bit of Ireland.  Two and a half days with my friend to walk where streets do have names in Dublin. To ride a big Touristy McTouristan tour bus across the isle to see the Cliffs of Moher and Galway and green and rocks and rain and blue sky.  I’ve dreamed of going to Ireland since I was a little girl and always requested bedtime stories about rainbows and leprechauns. Deep in my gut, there has always been a wanting to go back to the land where my grandpa’s grandpa, Thomas Scully, left home and country to come to America. I learned a lot more about the potato famine and the struggle for Catholics like my ggGrandpa Thomas during the mid-1800s and what may have led him to leave. Whatever he hoped for his generations to come as he left, I hope a piece of that was realized as I arrived back there this week. Either in his desperation or courage, or possibly both, He did us good.  And though no one there knew, I carried his name and blood back to that rocky soil. I usually leave pieces of my heart on each land I step, but in Ireland, I found pieces of my heart already there waiting for me.

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Here are a few pictures as I continue to document this journey.  For so many years there were no pictures of my life as it seemed to me there was nothing to note. I had such specific ideas of what was noteworthy. The enemy of my soul had me so wrapped up in distrust and disappointments to distract me from the beauty of the life I have been given.  I don't finally have pictures to take because there are more places and faces in my life, but rather I have more pictures to take because in changing my heart the Lord drastically changed my ideas of what is noteworthy.  That change in gratitude literally opened up the world for me to be grateful. Maybe still a bit of weirdo to my own set of well-founded, very logical cultural expectations... but, a weirdo on purpose because I consider him faithful who promised to have plans for me in following him. Not because of who I am, but because of who he is.  He knows my name, and he knows your name; he is the same for me as he is for you.  It just depends on rather or not we are willing to say yes or if we allow the trees to block our view of the beautiful forest before us.


Driving out of Dublin along the River Liffey.

The Long Room at Trinity College.




At the Cliffs of Moher.




At St. Nicolas' Cathedral in Galway.

Our tour guide, also Nicholas, and another view inside the church.  

Galway street band.

Dublin breakfast and coffee.

Eighty-six year old Irma from Boston, now living in Las Vegas because she "sold her snow shovel" was my seatmate for a bit of our tour around Dublin.  She was traveling Europe solo after her granddaughter's wedding in England. "We'll always have Dublin."

This was a little museum that I will say was the definition of the word charming.  The tour guide was singing us a song.  

A handwritten sermon from the mid 1700s in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

"Roll of the Knights of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick"



And Tom Scully, born in Waco, TX, died in Henryetta, OK, and filled a whole life in between.  He was an Irish son, husband, father, coal miner, and butcher.

His father, who passed away at age 48 when Tom was 2 years old, would have walked some of these same streets in Dublin, where several of his generations to come have now returned with his name and in his honor. 
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Plans for me have included quite a bit of wandering, but, wait for it... 

I am not lost.

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3 comments

  1. Oh Haley - I enjoyed this read very much. And, of course, the photos. I have such admiration for you and what you do - and why you do it. Cousin Bobbie Sue

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    1. Thanks for your note, Bobbie. :)

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  2. Your soul sing praises to Jesus! Always write. It blesses so many! Love you!

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