Taking a Chance

I just returned from a delightful trip to Ireland. I had the chance to sing with my church‘s choir-Holy Angels Catholic Church. Our first concert was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral  in Dublin. In the Cathedral is the remnat of the chapter house door. This door was key to ending a bloody feud in 1492 between two prosperous noble families in Ireland, the Butlers (Earls of Ormond) and the Fitzgeralds (Earls of Kildare).

Fleeing the Fitzgerald’s soldiers, Black James and his men, (from the Butler family) sought sanctuary in the chapter house of St. Patrick’s. Even though the Earl of Kildare (Fitzgeralds) had the chapter house surrounded, the Earl of Kildare tried for hours to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Black James refused to open the door.

The Earl of Kildare then had his soldiers cut a hole in the oak door.  The Earl told Black James that he wanted an end to the feud. The Earl then took a chance. He put his arm through the hole in the door in hopes of shaking hands with Black James as a sign of reconciliation between the two families.  Black James and his men could agree to peace or hack off the arm of the Earl of Kildare. They shook hands and there was a peaceful end to the feud. The saying “chancing one’s arm” comes from this story.

What would happen if all people would take a chance and extend their arm?  Perhaps the door of reconciliation would be open to the whole world. Take the chance.


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