alrighty, back in the USA and recovering from some serious jet lag. Had a relatively smooth trip back with the exception of I-75 in Cincy. It took us over 2 hours to get home from CVG because of construction traffic at midnight, not what I was looking forward to after having traveled 18 hours already. But seeing my family was so sweet, Zach learned to walk while I was gone.
Dublin was all that it was cracked up to be. Craig and I had a blast, ate some great Irish food, visited a few (dozen) pubs :) The Guinness factory was over the top. Much more than we expected, the multi-media and experiential effect was sweet. We took a bus about 50 miles south of Dublin on Thursday to an ancient monastic site called Glendalough. This is where St. Kevin planted a monastic community in the 6th century. The monastic life of ancient Celtic Christianity has been an inspiration to me in the reason I'm about missional communities today. This was holy ground for me, the cemetery and ruins really spoke to my soul. I was getting annoyed with other tourists who were putting out their european cigarette butts on the graves of these ancient saints, walking through the sites talking on their cell phone when the area screamed for some deep reflection. It made me think about the Kingdom of God, some have found the narrow path that leads to life and others choose the wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7 i think).
OK, and now the real highlight of Dublin. I got INKED! yes, after about 2 years of thoughts, i did my research and permanently branded myself with the cross of Christ. Since I wanted a Celtic Cross with celtic knotwork design, I wanted to have it done in Ireland for the romantic effect. Of course when it came down to it, my tattoo artist was south african who knew nothing of Celtic symbolism and rather specialized in murals of women and satanic symbols. So much for romanticism. However, he was a good artist and did a great job, I love it. More about it to come.
I had only one regret on this trip, that I wasn't here for the Palmers. A couple of times after reading emails/blogs and separated from y'all overseas, I had to get alone and just weep for Mark and Jennifer. I prayed, I got hundreds of churches in Ukraine praying and when my wife let me know that Jennifer passed, I felt so helpless. I wanted to be with all of you as a source of encouragement but I felt so isolated. I hardly know what to say, my heart is broken for Mark, not in a pity sense, but wanting so badly to help shoulder his pain so its not unbearable for him. I close with a celtic prayer (Scots traditional) for Mark:
"Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of peace to you."
I love you bro.