{Novel Ramblings} Called to Dance in a Curach

In working on my current WIP novel, I’ve had to research the Irish language and culture. This hasn’t been a difficult task since I’ve loved Irish music since my teen years and, like for many people, this has grown into a love for Ireland. By far, however, my favorite aspect of Irish culture has been its spirituality. From the accounts of St. Patrick, St. Brigid, and countless others who dedicated their lives to serving the Lord, to powerful ancient hymns like “Be Thou My Vision,” to the inspired worship songs coming out of Ireland presently, the Irish connection to God is obvious.

Even in everyday speech, God is prevalent. Among native Irish speakers, the usual greeting is Dia dhuit (“God to you”), to which the answer is Dia’s Muire dhuit (“God and Mary to you”). When entering a room where there is more than one person, the greeting is often Dia anseo isteach (“God save all here”). God and their faith in Him enters their speech in many ways, including their expressions, and while for some this has become simply the appropriate words for the situation, there are many Irish who still use these words literally.

One common Irish expression is God is good, but don’t dance in a curach. To help you get the gist of this, a curach (example in the picture above) is a boat primarily used on the West Coast of Ireland, and while they’re now mainly made of canvas stretched over a wooden frame, they were traditionally built from a wooden frame and animal skins. They’ve been used for centuries, both inland and on the sea, but their small size and flimsy construction on the boat-building scale have also made them a less-than-sturdy water-borne vessel. Not something you’d dance in unless you wanted to chance a swim inland or a possible drowning in the rough waters of the sea.

As much as I love the colorfulness of this expression, though, I don’t fully agree with it.

Many times, God calls us to dance in a curach—in other words, to do something that otherwise seems completely unwise.

On one end of this spectrum, he calls some people to tasks such as ministering to others in dangerous places and situations. On the other end, and much more commonly, he calls the rest of us to trust him and bid our comfort zones goodbye. And he does this not only for our own good, but to further his glory.

Two and a half years ago, God called me to dance in a curach by leaving my job. In our American society where money is security, I had more than a few people question my decision, but I did it anyway, knowing full well that I would still need to pay the same bills I was paying when I was working full time. Now, many months later, I can honestly say that God’s kept his promise to take care of me while I took care of my family, built my editing business, and finished the book he placed on my heart to write—and how fitting that this book’s premise is that God can bring incredible joy from our most difficult circumstances if we allow him to!

In his Word, God promises to take care of us, and in his perfect time, he shows up.  

So for my life, I’m changing the expression: God is good, but don’t dance in a curach—unless he calls you to. And then in that case, by all means, dance away. When you need him, he’ll be there.




photo credit: michael clarke via photopin cc

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