Yesterday I received a WhatsApp message from a friend in Galway, Ireland informing me that a good friend had passed from this world.
I was reminded of the story of Moses when he was a baby, for his safety, he was placed in a basket among the bull rushes of the Nile. His older sister Miriam was charged to look out for him which she did from a distance.
Over the course of my life, I have been aware of my own ‘Miriams’. People speak of having guardian angels I have met ‘guardian humans’ ‘The Miriams’ one of which was Pauline.
At the age of 19 and led by the Spirit I moved to Galway City in the West of Ireland. It was a step of faith as I had no financial support and indeed I had never visited the place. In the almost 2 years that I spent there, I met Pauline through the church I attended ‘Galway Christian Fellowship’.
There are often few words as to why we connect with people and often the connection is told over time by stories that occur over the friendship.
I struggled at times in Galway and Pauline became someone who had the ear to listen. It was her vision for Romania in 1990 that connected us in a way for which I am forever grateful.
In 1989 Romania had its revolution and the West became aware of the needs within the country, particularly orphanages. Pauline as I recall had visited Romania with Open Doors a Christian charity and made a contact with a medical doctor. She was so stirred by what she saw that she set about raising funds and aid for Romania. I didn’t consider myself a visionary for this type of work but Pauline’s compassion rubbed off on me and I decided with others to get behind her efforts.
A charity was formed ‘Dochas Linn’, events were organised and soon we had aid for Romania. She made contact with an Irish Truckers’ association after hearing about their plans to take aid to Romania and they agreed to take ours with them. Somehow in the planning, it was decided that I would accompany this aid to Romania.
Pauline, I believe, mentioned to me that I should keep a lookout for a contact while in Romania who may facilitate her living there for a time. Sure enough, I met a guy who seemed interested in the prospect of Pauline joining them to assist as they were rebuilding their community. I passed the details to Pauline and she did indeed spend a year living in Romania.
Being part of her vision for Romania wove me into her life which created a lifelong connection.
It wasn't only Romania at a critical point in life I confided in her and she was direct with her advice. I accepted it as I knew it was coming from the right place and that changed the course of my life.
That was over 30 years. I haven't seen Pauline for maybe 26 years. We exchanged Christmas cards up to 2021 and exchanged a very occasional email.
But you know some people are in your physical life for a short time but their impact lasts a lifetime, Pauline for me was one of those people. Even now with her passing, that impact will remain.
Some people’s faith perhaps constrains them Pauline’s faith brought her fully alive.
My thoughts are with her family and other friends at this time.
Below are previous stories on Romania
Thursday 11th April 1990, Dalboshets, Romania, near the border with the then Yugoslavia
In 1990 I travelled to Romania with an Irish charity.