When I heard that Ireland’s nickname was “The Emerald Isle,” I didn’t think much of it. However, when I arrived here, I was completely overwhelmed by the vibrant rolling hills, trees, and greenery that were brilliant green. I have never seen such a lovely shade of green in my life. Yesterday was the perfect example for me of how the color green has change my life here in Ireland.
First, our team traveled to Malahide Castle. The castle itself was stunning. It was built in the 1200’s and was occupied until the 1970’s by the Talmot family. A lot of original artifacts that belonged to the family were there too, which was fascinating. The castle tower it over us and it was covered with dark green ivy. My favorite part about the castle, however, was the gardens. The gardens were absolutely stunning. I have never felt the presence of the Lord like I did in this place. There were forests, wide open spaces of perfectly trimmed pure green grass, wildflowers that carpeted the floor of the forest, bushes erupting in with blossoms, massive, towering trees with branches so long and heavy that they dropped and grew along the ground, and hills to roll down (yes, I rolled down the hills giggling like a child). The best way to describe how I felt in that moment was simply: free. For the first time in my life, I felt my soul sing praises to God and run wild with Him. I felt like a wild, untamed horse, running with my savior. I felt like all my life I was created to feel this way. I literally ran around and flung my arms with tears of joy in my eyes like a child. I felt young, alive, free, and perfectly in tune with my God. I didn’t care about what my team thought of me, what anyone else thought of me, or anything else on earth. All I could think about was that moment of pure bliss with the Lord. I have never felt such freedom in my life.
I felt the same way when we visited New Grange later on that day. It is a burial site that looks like a massive stone dome and it dates back to 3200 BC. When I was on top of that hill, I was so humbled that the God who created the landscape around me even noticed me. I felt so insignificant and small, yet I knew God was watching over me even in that moment. I whispered, “Thank you, God. Thank you for this gift,” aloud to myself and to Him. These are two moments I will take will me all my life.