Tapestry of Joy

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I’m often struck by the thought of all the paths that had to cross, world events and history that happened, for me to be in this place and this moment in time today.  Working on family genealogy can be a maze of information, but as I’ve gone through many different directions, I appreciate so much. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but digging into more ancestry records recently has put it smack in front of me again.

All the challenges that our people faced, no matter when and where they came from, remind me of wars, struggles, migrations, diseases, deaths and lives that made my own path.  Families lost loved ones to war and typhoid; some left everything they knew behind and got on wooden boats for long sea journeys and faced the unknown.  One ancestor was hung in Boston Commons in 1660 because she was a Quaker. In the writings of a Foster ancestor of mine, he recorded:

“Lettice and Edward Foster married at the house of Capt. James Cudworth.  There being at the time no magistrate in Scituate, Capt. Myles Standish journeyed from Plymouth to perform the ceremony.”

Cool to think Capt. Myles Standish married a pair of my ancestors back in the early 1600’s!

Last fall, I traveled back to Ireland, home of my Eagan ancestors.  Though no closer to finding where they lived there, I strongly connect to the country and the people. Standing on a shore, wondering how they must have felt knowing, as they looked to the sea, that they would never see their home again, my heart broke for them. Life in North America couldn’t have been easy for them, but I have not forgotten them.

I experienced what I would call the “weaving of a tapestry of joy” as I traveled to Ireland with the Dady Brothers and a large group for the 25th Anniversary Tour.  There were about 80 of us in two tour buses with driver/guides. We started in Dublin and spent several days traveling through Northern Ireland and to the west/northwest.

We visited wonderful, moving places and enjoyed great food and accommodations.  John and Joe Dady played fantastic Irish music for us many evenings.  Local musicians joined in to the sessions, and John and Joe received the great honor of the Tommy Makem award. Our guides not only drove the buses skillfully, but told us about history, culture, news, nature, sports, and shared their sense of humor with us. I took lots of photos and brought home priceless memories.

It was as if a tapestry was being woven during the time we spent together on this trek.  Threads of friendship were woven among new and old acquaintances. Green threads, the forty shades of Irish green, wove into the mix. Murals were somber reminders of the “Troubles” in Belfast, Northern Ireland touched our hearts, weaving in sorrow along with the joy of seeing news places and trying new experiences.  Laughter, the taste of Irish coffee and fresh scones with butter and jam, the blend of voices and instruments, and the smell of peat burning in Renvyle’s fireplace added more “threads.” A little bit of fear mixed in when our group crossed the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, and wonder was added when we attempted walking on the Giant’s Causeway’s unique rock formation.

As I think of what I have been able to experience, I can’t help but remember where I came from, and how many “bridges” my ancestors crossed and burned to make my Family Tree.

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