Traveling Between Eternities

I was thinking back on the wonderful hospitality I enjoyed in Ireland and came upon this bedtime prayer on a card I saved from the Clifden Station House. It might sound corny, but I believe it is completely sincere and it shows what happens when people really like the business they are in.

I love the travel business. If GoNOMAD gets one person to travel, just one, that’s one more person who comes to realize that “unamerican” is not a bad word, a person far less likely to vote for a butthead like George Bush. Rick Steves (Travel Can Help Mend a Fractured World) said it so much better than I could.

The people in Irish hotels like Clifden House like being in the hospitality industry, and so do all the wonderful Polish people who staff many of them. When you like the business you are in, your job becomes a kind of mission, and a pleasure.

“Because a hotel is is a human institution to serve people and not just a profit centre,” they write, “we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.

“May this hotel be your ‘home from home.’ May those you love be near you in your thoughts and dreams…

“For we are all travelers from birth, to the end of our days we travel between eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for your communities, helpful for those you meet and joy to those who know and love you best. We make this prayer through God our Saviour.”

I’m not completely against religion, you know. I believe what Jesus taught, and I believe that in Ireland, unlike many, many other places, they have got it right. Surely St. Patrick, who was once a slave, had something to do with that.

Martin Luther King said that unearned suffering is redemptive, and I believe what Martin Luther King says. So, ipso facto, Ireland has been redeemed many times over. And I can attest that they understand the age-old connection between spirituality and hospitality.