We all get lost in this world from time to time


AFRIEND of mine worked on the PR side of Shane McEn­tee's first and suc­cess­ful Dáil cam­paign in 2005. On the day that I learned of Mr McEn­tee's death my friend said that Shane was the nicest and kind­est Ir­ish politi­cian he had ever known. At the grave­side ora­tion Taoiseach Enda Kenny looked vis­i­bly shaken and in­deed I have heard from close as­so­ci­ates of his that he is still shocked by Shane's death.

Over the years I have known peo­ple who have taken their own lives. I re­mem­ber just af­ter priestly or­di­na­tion work­ing in Ger­many get­ting to know a won­der­ful young Ger­man Do­mini­can sis­ter. The fol­low­ing year I was told that she had died of a heart at­tack but I later learned that she had taken her own life.

I have also known a num­ber of priests, who have died by sui­cide - all ter­ri­ble tragedies. Last week ac­tor Joe Pan­taliano was in Dublin high­light­ing all that can be done for peo­ple who suf­fer de­pres­sion and may be think­ing of tak­ing their own lives. “The rea­son I came out to talk about it was be­cause I was an­gry with the stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion at­tached to it all,” he said. Pan­taliano told his au­di­ence in Dublin that he suf­fered in si­lence for over 50 years.

For most of us, the hu­man mind is a mys­tery. We sel­dom if ever know what is go­ing on in an­other per­son's head. Do we ever know what is go­ing on in our won? Maybe it's my DNA, maybe it's my own in­er­tia, maybe it's my own sloth, but I very eas­ily give in to moan­ing and groan­ing and be­moan­ing my lot.

Only last week, driv­ing from Kerry to Dublin, a woman said to me that my life is far bet­ter than I re­alise. Be­fore I say an­other word, of course I am not a psy­chi­a­trist, psy­chol­o­gist or any sort of ther­a­pist and peo­ple who suf­fer clin­i­cal de­pres­sion need to at­tend ex­perts for heal­ing, ad­vice and med­i­ca­tion. I imag­ine just like the rest of the hu­man race, I get down, fed up, won­der why I ever took the path in life I chose.

JUST LAST week I woke up one morn­ing ask­ing my­self what in God's name was I do­ing be­ing a priest. The day moved on and I got on with life, at least in my own tin pot way. In the week af­ter Christ­mas a fam­ily with whom I am friendly came to Dublin for the day, Mum, Dad, three girls and a boy. Chil­dren are aged 14, 12, 10 and nine. It was mainly a treat for the three older girls. They wanted to come to Dublin to go shop­ping in a newly opened store on Dame Street.

I called them some­time af­ter lunch and we met for cof­fee in the St Stephen's Green Cen­tre. At that stage they were all sort of tired and shop­ping had not worked out as planned. Prices were high and in the end they really did not see any­thing that they wanted. I ar­rived on my mo­tor bike so the gear was a source of some fun for a few sec­onds, es­pe­cially for the lit­tle nine-year-old boy.

They had a few hours to spare be­fore the de­par­ture of their re­turn train so I sug­gested we take a stroll in St Stephen's Green. And we did that. They had never been in it be­fore. It was some­thing new for them. I pointed out a few things of in­ter­est. I think we all found it a pleas­ant walk. And then just be­fore we were leav­ing, the chil­dren spot­ted a brown squir­rel. They ran over to it and then nat­u­rally it darted up a tree. The ex­cite­ment it caused. Their mother turned to me and said: “You know that's the high­light of the day”. We all laughed.

Th­ese chil­dren live in the coun­try, see an­i­mals ev­ery day. They come to Dublin to see the bright lights and yet it is a squir­rel dart­ing about a tree that makes the day for them. Of course we have to plan our lives. We have to get things done. There are im­por­tant things to do. But I won­der do we all get lost from time to time in a world about us that may not be as im­por­tant as we think.

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