Believe it or not?

Does Religion matter? Are you a happier person because you believe there is another life waiting, or because you believe this is the only chance you are getting?

I’m not one for religion or an after life with Jesus or whoever, but every now and then I can appreciate what it is for others to have faith. Wednesday 3rd August was Mass in the Graveyard night in the village where I live. This is a huge event all over Ireland, where once a year, in every small town and village in the country, mass is held in the local graveyard. It’s not held on the same day everywhere, but usually it’s around the first week in August. On this evening, people come from all over the country, some even travel from their homes abroad, to stand near their loved ones graves, to hear mass and have the grave blessed. My own mum traveled to Donegal, her holidays always coinciding with the graveyard mass, where her parents and sister are buried.

So off I headed to stand beside young Daniels grave, with some of the members of his family. The graveyard is relatively new but each year the crowd grows as it slowly fills. As usual the weather was definitely not Summery with a strong wind blowing, temperatures mimicking late Autumn and an ominous dark sky.

I was immediately struck by the numbers gathered, knowing each had a story to tell. Mass began but in truth I tuned out of what was being said, and into the faces, ages and number of others gathered. As I looked about I tried to imagine young Daniel if he were present. He’d be sixteen now, tall, voice broken, possibly still blonde, but despite my best efforts the handsome young thirteen year old he was three years ago is all I could see. At times I could even hear him! Standing beside his grave I felt angry and immensely sad, for the life he’d not lived and the one his family were living without him.

As the mass continued I wondered at the place religion had in the hearts of those gathered and how much comfort they got from it? photo credit: An Improbable Rainbow via photopin (license)Was it easier for them believing they would meet their loved one again? In the freezing cold and biting breeze it felt very graveyardish, if you can imagine what I mean, bleak, a place of sadness and loss. I looked away to the surrounding hills in the distance and the racing dark clouds above, searching for a different view, some hope perhaps and less sadness.

It was then I saw it… the faintest of rainbows. Not the most vibrant one ever painted, but nevertheless a clear, distinct rainbow gathered above our heads. As I pointed it out to my children I saw others also noting it.

It didn’t stay too long, but after it had faded the mood among many had changed, some were praying louder, while others let tears fall.

Was it sent by God or lost loved ones? Was it a coincidence? Does it really matter? For in that moment, regardless of what brought it about, a short lived rainbow had come to brighten up a difficult day, comforting many along the way.

photo credit: An Improbable Rainbow via photopin (license)

12 thoughts on “Believe it or not?

    1. A rainbow has never really signified much to me to date, but I don’t think it meant any less for me because my belief was different. It certainly made a difference though.

      1. Oh for me they relate back to my Mother and her love of Christy Brown’s saying:’And there are rainbows,’ – hope at times of adversity. She sent me a few postcards just quoting that at terrible times so now when I see them I think of her and the fight and love that she had for me and passed on when she died in 2009.

  1. There have been to many documented unexplained phenomena, too many miracles, ghost sightings, premonitions, out of body experiences, healings, and impossible to explain occurrences that make it impossible for me not to believe.

    1. My good friend, Daniel’s mum, would feel as you do. I have seen the comfort and solace her faith gives her. It has certainly helped her as she grieves.

    1. Thank you Diana. It was amazing how a rainbow could symbolise so much to so many. Definitely changed the mood for most gathered there.

  2. what a beautiful and amazing post, tric. that sounds like a wonderful tradition, regardless of what anyone believes or doesn’t, as you said. it’s all about the people, those who have left, and those who are left behind, and that is what they all have in common. the rainbow was a beautiful gift.

    1. You know Beth I was so focused for many years on not getting the whole religion thing, that I missed the fact it was indeed a wonderful tradition.

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