This Old Tourist
Traveling through Ireland this past
September, as I was about to check out of my room, I read the following note
to Terri who runs the B&B in Annagry, County Donegal.
"Terri, please forgive this
old man as I am just a poor, ignorant tourist. I've rushed into town
expecting perfection, turning my nose up at the first cobweb sighted. I
arrived in a bit of a tizzy and complained of a cold and dusty room. I
am surely to be pitied.
It will be difficult to say this
well; it may be near impossible for it to be heard. We are mere
strangers who live worlds apart. Our paths may never cross again.
Of course, these are personal matters. If I should keep silent, please
forgive this old man for I am just a poor, ignorant tourist.
Jeremiah, your assistant, has
mentioned the recent death of your son. I now realize his memory, so
strong within your heart, is everywhere in this home. This home I now
know is sacred ground - holy ground for a broken heart. It contains
memories, precious memories of a life not far removed from you. Those
memories I know drift down every hallway and fill every room.
I am a Father; my children are
precious to me. To extend their lives, I would gladly sacrifice mine.
Yes, to love a child is what I know.
Of course, what I do not know and
would never pretend to understand is what it is like to lose a child. To
even consider it leaves me speechless. To imagine it opens a wound that
I know would never heal - a void never to be filled.
Terri, I wish you healing. I
wish you comfort. I wish you well as your journey continues. I am
a mere tourist. I came to town looking for comfort. What I found
is holy and sacred ground. Yes, I realize that now. Thank you for
taking a moment from your memories - yes, a horrid distraction indeed - to
care for this poor, ignorant tourist."
As I read this note, Terri cried.
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