“May the road rise up to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your field;
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”
The memorial card from a friend’s funeral carried that traditional Irish blessing. The card serves as a bookmark on a prayer book that I read daily, so the poetry of its words has become part of the way I start the day.
I could not hope to improve upon the blessings, but I could not help reflecting upon the prayer. The road we travel with God, to God and for God is often not an easy path. However, with prayer and faith, the road does rise up to meet us.
The wind at our back is the Holy Spirit who fills the sail of our soul with the graces and strength that we need to navigate through the sometimes stormy waters of this life.
Few feelings in life are as welcome as the warmth of the spring sun upon our face after the seemingly endless cold of winter. God’s love warms our hearts occasionally grown frigid by the coldness and cruelty that we encounter in our lives.
Few of us plant fields with crops, but occasionally our faith becomes parched and hope is dust carried away by the wind. However, God, the Living Water, provides the heavenly irrigation we need to enable the flower of our faith to blossom in the well-watered soil of hope.
As far as the last two lines of the blessings, we can be sure that, as we pray that for those loved ones who are no longer with us, they are praying the same for us who are still in this world. And we can be even more certain that God is holding all of us in the hollow of his hand.
We are blessed with life, but it is up to us how we live it.