‘It goes against my grain’, was one of my mother’s phrases. One of those sayings we now call a
A bridism was either a phrase, unique to our mother, or at the very least, one that she used often. Against the grain was one such phrase.
‘Do you think I am the Ali Khan?’ was one that was unique to Ma. We think now it was a corruption of Aga Khan. The Aga Khan was of course a very wealthy race horse owner. This phrase might be offered when we urged her to buy us something when we were with her on a shopping expedition.
It was Ma’s version of ‘do you think I am made of money?’
I began thinking of bridisms the other day when I heard the phrase ‘against the grain!’
It was a lady here in St. Matthew’s speaking about my imminent departure to Celbridge where I am going shortly as Parish Priest. She said to me, ‘Does it not go against your grain to have to pack up and go off and start all over again?’
It got me thinking. In some ways yes it does go against the grain and in other ways no it doesn’t.
In the sense that it does, I feel moving into one of these major life moves, it’s much more demanding now that I am in my fifties than it was say back when I was in my thirties. Maybe as we get older we tend to nest. To batten down the hatches. To cling to the familiar. The notion of starting over again is not so attractive. Can I do it again? Will it work? Have I got what it takes? Will I be happy?
Will I be happy. That reminds me of something my mother said to my sister on the phone, just a few weeks before she died, ‘you know I can’t remember when I last saw the big fella as happy’. She was right. It has been a very happy seven years here in St. Matthew’s. Sure I have made mistakes and no doubt at times driven people mad, but all in all it has been good. If I offended you I’m sorry. I hope you forgive me. That was never my intention. At times I wanted to disturb, to rattle and to challenge.
I hope in some small way I contributed to your faith and your joy. I hope at times I might even have inspired you a little. I certainly got far more than I gave most especially from the people, by which I mean you, the people of St. Matthew’s. You are great. You are very special. I will miss you terribly and yes you will always be part of me. Thank You.
And yet I go. And yes I go and no it’s not against the grain. In fact it’s for the grain. It’s not against any grain but for the grain of wheat that must die. The dying that’s part of life. The dying that’s part of the rising. I must go.
I go. I go I hope in response to the whispering of the Holy Spirit deep in my heart.
Please pray that I will be able to honour you in my grateful sadness and yet go to the people of St.
Patrick and St. Brigid with a joyful and generous heart.
Let us resolve to remember each other in prayer and to stay united in our dedication to come to know the Lord better and to keep struggling to love him more deeply with each passing day.
May Matthew continue to intercede on our behalf. Amen.
Jennifer Bailey · 9th August 2019 at 6:59 pm
Father Joe you will be sadly missed , my kids love your family masses , Christmas and Easter won’t be the same, we wish you the best in your new parish