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A line from Irenaeus of Lyons always comes to mind in conversations like this - where he says that "The glory of God is seen in a human being fully alive"... there are moments when I am involved in running residential retreats for people that make me feel like there is nothing more to be added to happiness - providing a welcoming space for discussion, dialogue, warmth, fires, North Antrim coastlines and woodland... it just seems to strike a chord of something rhythmic and rich for me.

This year a friend gave me Dave Isay's book "Listening is an act of love" - I tried (in vain) to limit myself to savouring one story at a time, but found myself being moved to tears over and over again at the simplicity of the storytelling.

If I can choose a favourite-among-favourites, it's this one about a bus driver in New York:

Thanks again for great interview with John. We all loved it when he used to come up to Belfast to give some talks... the humour,respect, insight, warmth, hospitality, and that magnificent laugh with his head thrown back - he embodied such humanity, and helped his audience and friends live their lives richly. This show captured something unique about him - wonderful production and both a poignant and piquant listen.

Pádraig, Belfast.