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An Irish blessing for redheads, agnostics and atheists alike

Life from Your Window
By: Elaine Jo Giamona
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Each time I sit down to write, it seems I’m guided far away from my original intention. This week’s column was scheduled to be about the sad state of our libraries or the National Teen Leadership Program. Not happening. So I decided to just go with the flow. A friend of mine is a redheaded Irishman in the little town of Butte, Mont. Last Saturday night was the grand opening of his upscale lounge called The Sky. I wasn’t able to make it to Butte to wish him the best so I sent the following old Irish blessing: May God give you ... For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer. For the record, Irish blood flows in my veins, despite the fact that my last name is Giamona. My family name is McCoy. It’s a name I use in my business and am very proud of. I’m Irish or at least half my DNA is Irish. Scientific evidence may support my belief that the other half is 96 percent identical to a chimp! I can do just about anything I see being done, unless it involves auto mechanics or changing the ink cartridges on a printer. Now stay with me. Another man I know lives in England. He goes by the name Downie, which comes from an old Irish name, O’Dúnadhaigh. I know this Irishman to be an agnostic and as such may doubt the very existence of a God. This fine Brit, Downie, recently sent me a brilliant article on a hot political topic in this year’s American elections and has given permission to publish it in our local newspaper. The topic is so controversial that after sending it to a close associate, I fully expected opposition to the opinion expressed; the only response was “no comment!” I appreciate Downie’s willingness to share his words and wished to express my gratitude with the same Irish blessing that went to my redheaded friend in Montana. Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks: He doubts that God even exists! Will he take offense? Will he stop sharing his opinions from the other side of the pond? I decided to send him the Irish blessing anyway but with this postscript: “I know you are not one to pray but these things I wish you anyway!” Later I laughed with relief when he said his prayer would be for a Guiness (a beer). By now, my adrenaline was flowing. Feeling a bit gutsy, I e-mailed the Irish blessing to a redheaded friend in Florida, who is a professed atheist. She does not believe in the existence of a God. Here’s her response: “I like blessings and good wishes any way I can get them because I know from where they come, not from God, but from your heart! Thank you, so very kind and sweet of you!” Today’s article evolved from these three experiences. And here’s my lesson learned: Why must we pick and choose who we wish well? Why can’t we send an Irish blessing out to everyone, no matter their stated religion or lack thereof? Today, there is so much bickering going on in the media and even across dinner tables about whose side God is on. Criticizing and judging others only feeds hatred and separates “us” from “them” when more than ever we need unity. Intelligent people will take lessons from the teachings that many religions have in common, whether they believe in religion or not, and use these valuable traditions to better themselves. Intelligent people will not fall into the nonsensical blame game that exists to divide people at a time in history when we need unity more than ever before. Sending an Irish blessing to redheads, agnostics and atheists alike. Elaine Jo Giamona is a Soroptimist International of Lincoln charter member and McCoy Real Estate and Property Management owner/broker. She is creator and administrator of the Facebook group, Lincoln Nonprofit Coalition. Comments are welcome at egiamona33@ gmail.com or online at lincolnnewsmessenger.com.