As I look over the lessons I’ve learned from the most inspirational people in my life, I notice they all have one thing in common: they have found their niche – that place where their passion, love and deep gratitude for everything around them fills their every day. There may be no greater story for this than that of Desmond Murray.
I’d gone off on my own to explore Italy, hoping to escape the drudgery I’d allowed life to become and filled with romantic notions of hiding away for awhile in some tiny Italian village. Ireland happened simply because it was cheaper to fly to Dublin, first – then on to Italy: a direct flight from the US Rome nearing a ridiculous price. With an internet deal-of-the-day, I was suddenly spending 3 nights in Ireland for the price of a plane ticket, before heading on to Rome to for all that intended eating, praying and loving.
I wandered around Dublin for a couple really fascinating days and, on the 3rd day, decided to get out of town. I’d picked up a brochure for The Galway Tour Company and, though maladjusted and jet lagged, I still found cause to hop a 5:30 am tour bus the next morning.
Enter Desmond Murray. When I’d dreamed of meeting a man overseas, little did I know the man who’d still bring a smile to my face a year later would be an 80-something year old tour bus driver.
Born and raised near Galway, Desmond was as enchanting and enthusiastic as they come. Steering a large bus fearlessly down narrow, far-from-paved roads, Desmond had stories about every nook, piece of gravel, seascape and magnificent castle we encountered. Joking that he’d led more people to God, desperately praying for their lives as he drove, than a priest ever could, Desmond’s sense of humor was sharp, getting through even to those who barely spoke English. Desmond loved what he did, loved his homeland and showed it off with such pride – the day was one of absolute awe.
By the end of the day, Desmond had convinced each and every lady on the trip to kiss him, name her first child after him and had created a deep place for Ireland in each of our hearts. The fact that he is just as memorable as the mesmerizing landscape speaks volumes about this man, the spunk and joy he possesses absolutely contagious. I hope to return to Ireland one day, soon, simply to live this day all over again. Deep gratitude, Desmond!