Sometimes I drive on the wrong side of the road.
It happened recently. In a quiet neighborhood, I turned onto an empty street, and for a few moments I was toodling along in the left-hand lane, which every American knows is the wrong side.
As soon as I realized it, I pulled over. I know I should have scolded myself, but instead it made me happy.
Because it reminded me: I lived in Ireland.
This week last year Jake and I were packing up our cozy apartment in Ballygar, Co. Galway, saying goodbyes to special neighbors and fulfilling jobs and our friends and community of 18 months. I felt sad, yes, I did—I loved our life there—but I also felt super grateful. Because living in Ireland was my dream come true.
You see, my dear dad was born in Belfast. When he was 6 years old (it was 1931), his mother Sarah left Ireland with the three youngest of her 13 children, and immigrated to Canada. It was my love for my dad and his stories that sparked my dream to know more about his homeland.
I got an Irish passport and green has always been my favorite color, an important sign, right? So of course, I wanted to someday live on the Emerald Isle.
When Jake and I first married in 1974, I talked him into applying to work at a children’s home in Ireland, thinking I could make my dream come true. But nope. We were rejected.
Twenty-five years later, my extended family met in Dublin, and we toured for ten days, celebrating my dad’s 75th birthday. It was great, but being a tourist was not the dream.
Fifteen years after that trip, in 2014, Jake and I did a cycling tour through the county of Donegal on the Atlantic coast. While in Ireland we checked out the organization Operation Mobilization (OM) to see if we could work with them. We were accepted and so, it happened! We moved to Ireland in August, 2015.
On our first day there — on our first walk — there was a welcoming rainbow in the sky.
I felt at home.
You know that verse in the Bible that says ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.’? (Psalm 37)
It seems to me that could be taken two different ways. 1. If I delight in the Lord, he will control my heart, and keep it desiring/dreaming for good and proper things.
Or it could mean, 2. If I delight in him, he will grant me my heart’s longings/dreams.
I’m not saying I’m expert at desiring God, but I do love him, and I see how he has fulfilled that verse for me, in both ways. Desiring to live in Ireland was a good dream that I believe he put in my heart long ago. AND it was a dream that only he could fulfill.
So that’s why I feel happy—so grateful!—when I drive on the wrong side of the road.