Good morning all and a special thanks to those of you who replied so kindly to my blog yesterday. We all need encouragement, even me so thanks!

I have recently got some negative feedback too and that’s ok, it won’t be to everybody’s liking and even the Lord Himself was accused of being possessed by an evil spirit yesterday’s reading so I’ll have to give thanks that nobody has said I’m possessed….yet!!

When I got up this morning I was thinking of New York, probably as the Lord is leading us out of Croatia shortly and so travel is on my mind!

I had the opportunity to live in New York for 3 months when I was 19. It was my first trip abroad and we flew from Dublin to London, from London to Boston and we then randomly decided to get a greyhound bus to New York arriving in central station late at night!

I’ll never forget it as stones were hurdled at our bus!

Next day we got the ‘Hampton Express’ bus to the tip of long island and so we arrived in Montauk, a small beach town in the state of New York filled with tourists over the summer and empty during the winter (a mini version of Split!).

We stayed in a hostel for a few nights, then in a caravan until the sewage started coming up as it was not properly connected and then to a cockroach infested room where 7 of us shared a tiny room (2 in each bed) for $750 per week. The New Yorkers liked their money!

We went looking for jobs! I got a job at a hardware store, 6 days a week from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. It wasn’t hard work but it was very boring and with temperatures over 40 Celsius and no air con there were times when I could barely walk!

Later I got a second job at the local cinema. I was the ticket guy and also had to clean the room between shows. It was a strange cinema because there was literally only one screen. Spiderman came out at the time and I’d clean that room listening to theme song ‘hero’!

‘With great power comes great responsibility’

Was God talking to me back then without me even knowing it?!

Now I do have one claim to fame from my 3 months in New York. Before those who tell me that I am writing this to show off, wait!!

My claim to fame was for nothing to be proud of! To drink alcohol in the USA one must be 21. I was 19 and looked as if I was 11! So all of us irish students had false identification.

One night the local club was raided by the police! Would you figure that out of a club with hundreds that they picked me?!!

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I was taken outside and with my hands behind my back interrogated by 2 cops. Some of my friends were entering the club at the same time and they pointed to me laughing, they didn’t realise that it was serious!

I had to appear in court the following week with my passport. My boss was worried as he was paying me under the table and I’ll never forget his mum who was in her 70’s looking at me and saying ‘disappointed honey’!! I had previously heard her say that she couldn’t understand what sort of mum I had that would let me go to New York on my own at 16!!! (least she didn’t say 11).

A week later I was on the newspapers! My boss at work knew the judge so $50 fine sorted it out after all the paperwork miraculously went missing!!

I think God was with me even then. No matter what I did I’d always get into trouble while everybody else would get off!! That hasn’t changed much when I come to think of it!! Yet somehow it would always work out fine and I’d learn from it!

After my 3 months there we went travelling for 2 weeks. We spent 4 days in Manhattan. I always remember visiting Ellis island where the irish would have arrived off the boats during the famine that killed half the people.

There was a memorial and a place where the missing bags were on display. As soon as I entered I began to cry and pray, only now I understand that I was feeling the souls in purgatory begging for prayers.

Our irish history is one full of suffering from famines to wars and so much prayer is needed for these types of nations!

We continued on and visited Boston and we went to Washington DC. Clinton was president at the time but time didn’t permit us to call in for tea! We then flew to Toronto and visited the Niagara falls before going back to Ireland.

I had no idea at the time that I would travel and live abroad so much afterwards. At the time I didn’t even go to mass not to mention know the Holy Spirit! That was for old ladies and I was a born dare devil looking for adventure!!

Little did I know that ‘adventure’ is the heart of God and one could not have a more adventurous life than moving around the world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit while trusting in His providence!

And so today, I share with you some of my memories to jokingly encourage you to trusting in God!

At 19 I had no real interest in God and I had no clue that God had any special interest in me! And so whatever age you are now, whether 19 or 69, know that God has a plan for your life and even if you don’t know it or see it or even believe it, let me assure you, it is there!

And so as John Paul 11 said:

“be not afraid to give all to Christ”

Bless you all with a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!