Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cliff Walks and Sea Swims

Last night I caught a lift home from one of my basketball teammates.  In the course of our conversation, he told me that he loves to swim and dive in the sea and he invited me to join him sometime.  He mentioned a place he likes to swim called Howth (a peninsula on the north side of Dublin Bay).  Since his grandfather lived out on Howth, it resonates with him in a special way.  I mentioned to him that I had been out to Howth on multiple occasions and that I had done some of the cliff walks overlooking the sea.  He was pleasantly surprised that I've already taken advantage of being so close to such a scenic location.  He's amazed that so many north Dubliners live just down the road from Howth and yet have never done the cliff walks.  He'll take some of his friends and neighbors out from time to time to swim in the sea or to hike around the peninsula and they always exclaim that they never knew how beautiful their own part of Ireland could be.

Isn't it amazing how much we take for granted?  People can live in some of the most beautiful locations on earth and never stop to appreciate God's creation.  It's often the tourists who take advantage of the most culturally relevant offerings of a city.  The locals never seem to find the time.  Christians are sometimes so busy waiting on life in the age to come that they miss out on what God has available to them in this life and in this age.  I wonder if when we begin that new life in the new creation, we'll look back in amazement at how much of the new age we could have already experienced back in the old one. - Shay 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where'd the summer go?

Last week we had nothing but sunshine, cool sea breezes off of Dublin Bay, and the occasional cloud of the fluffy marshmallow variety.  The last three days we've had gray skies, chilling gusts of sea soaked wind, and the perpetual drip, drip, drip of rainwater falling on our apartment balcony.  Hey, you don't move to Ireland to get a suntan!  And you're not even guaranteed a summer at all some years, but thankfully we had a beautiful one in 2010.  The autumn equinox may not officially occur for another two weeks, but for all practical purposes, I think this summer's gone.  At least we had one though!

The Smith family couldn't have picked a better summer to finally move to Dublin.  We were able to get into a great apartment in the village of Raheny on the north side of the city where we're literally right across the road from St. Anne's Park (the second largest park in Dublin) and we're only minutes from the beach on North Bull Island in Dublin Bay.  We're just down the road from multiple shops, restaurants, the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), and schools.  And our teammates, Craig and Merschon Hutson are due to move into another apartment complex in Raheny later this week.  Our other teammates Scott and Denise Karnes (and their two children, Davis & Bailey) are only minutes away in Baldoyle.  When Jo finally gets here, maybe she can split the difference between us all!

The best thing about getting to Dublin at this point in time has been the way God has provided us with multiple opportunities to begin to get to know neighbors and to be involved in the community.  I've had a chance to work at two summer camps (Camp Shamrock in Northern Ireland www.campshamrock.com, as well as a sports camp in the Ballymun region of Dublin) and to play on two different basketball teams.  Juli's joined a softball team and we're both exploring several other community service and volunteer opportunities.  Our teammates are also involved in a variety of activities and we're trying to support each other and overlap in our work together.

What will the autumn bring?  It's sure to bring some cooler weather and some damp days, but beyond the temperature shift, we're sure that this change in season will simply bring more and more opportunities to continue to live as citizen's of Christ's kingdom near St. Anne's and the sea. - Shay