When Jesus was a refugee

Yesterday was a feast of the Flight into Egypt, when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to a foreign land in order to save their lives. I never knew we had this feast or how it’s marked, but what I do know is that it reminds us that Jesus, the one who came that we might have life, had to escape from his native land and became a refugee. Imagine the terror, Herod asking for all the little boys to be killed in Bethlehem and Mary and Joseph, being warned in a dream, running away to escape. I know they trusted God, but they must have been terrified. Now, imagine further what would happen if when they approached the new land, alas the borders were closed? ‘Sorry, no escape, go back into death’.

Instead, thankfully, they managed to run away and they lived in a foreign land, to us a hidden life, and probably ordinary in many ways. But Jesus knows what it means to be a refugee, a foreigner, and even though he was but a child when they escaped, I believe he knows even the fear, uncertainty. Not only because he is God, but because children soak up everything and remember more than we would ever think. Jesus understands how it is to be a refugee. And what about us? It’s something to think about…would we let Jesus into Egypt, or would we tell Mary and Joseph they are not welcome, they should go home. ‘There is no room in the inn, not only in Bethlehem, but also closer to home’.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 17th February 2017)




This life is wild, unpredictable like the wind at times….even when you have a dream, and the stubborn inner certainty to follow it, still you can never know all the roads where you will be led on. Sometimes we don’t even know if those roads are right, or wrong, until perhaps later on. Even beauty is wild, goodness too, in this world that sometimes doesn’t value either of the two. I want to take all the goodness that I can and throw it in the face of the ugliness out there, all the terrors and wars and ways in which we walk over the treasures in someone else’s heart, oh if I could be that wild to stand up and say, ‘no, not here, you cannot walk over these people’s dreams. Here is a mirror, go and have a look, there is a treasure hiding in your heart, yes you forgot that you are good! Stop that war, stop that fight, rather take this mirror, and show others who they are’.

Horses, I always think of horses when I think of being wild. Wild horses, running free, untamed, knowing that freedom is their destiny. I suppose there is grace in their ‘wild’, there is pose, and elegance. They are who they are meant to be, and while I call them beautiful, in their wildness there is peace. Oh if people could learn from it!

© Iva Beranek (February 2017) #wildheartwriters

A forgotten dream


Somewhere up on
a distant hill
there hides the gate
of your deepest dream
out of your reach

yet within your soul
lurk all the answers
that you need,
inside the most precious part
of your heart
hides a little key
to open the gate
of your long
forgotten dream

dreams feed on longings
while the lack of courage
is their death
only those who are brave
climb up that hill
they follow the call
from within their soul
and grow into
who God
destined them to be
long ago

the rest ponder
on the impossibility of the quest
they drown the dream
with their fears
life leads them up
that distant hill

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 20th August 2015)

Buried dreams


I buried that dream
in the field
of lost ideals
like thousand pieces of
broken glass
I covered it with soil
knowing it will not grow

snow raged from the April sky
and covered the wound
that was dry
from long spilled blood
I did not care anymore
I turned my back
to anything I had ever lost
and looked towards
a field where flowers
still did grow

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 28th April 2016)
Photo from here.

Do you have a dream?

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Is there a dream, or a seed of a dream long forgotten, hidden somewhere within your heart? Perhaps at this time it is inviting you to water it with belief that it can come to life, perhaps at this time it is inviting you not to leave it beyond neglect but to dig it out into the daylight and help it grow.

I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams, the deepest ones. Never give up on dreams that make you who you are. Some dreams have eternal seeds, as if they are made of gold; they may take long to flourish, and at times even seem impossible and not very practical too achieve. As Brenadan Kennelly says, “Not for the cautious man or woman – a little too risky sometimes.. perhaps”.

But when we pursue them and they do begin to flourish they reveal our deepest identity, our true self that from the beginning was hidden in God. Herman Hesse wrote that “our only guide is our homesickness”. Homesickness is that inner echo of a dream that was planted in your heart by God. When you know what you long for, what directs your desire for life, when you let it emerge deep from within you, then you can follow it like a scent of the most beautiful flower that guides you through life. However, occasionally we can glimpse that this ‘something’ is in fact ‘who‘, and we realise that life that we seek is seeking us – too.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 16th July 2014, first shared on RTE Radio 1 during ‘A Living Word‘) Photo by © Iva Beranek

There is such a thing as carrot wine


“Do you have mulled wine?”
“No, but our specialty is carrot wine. Would you like to try it?”
“Oh. Carrot wine? Yes, I would.”

The lady pours a little bit of the light orange wine into a tall wine glass… I taste it. It tastes surprisingly good. This is a little restaurant on the outskirts of Vienna, in Austria.

It is small but beautifully decorated. The white table cloth covering a large table makes it look very stylish, with different size wine glasses on the table; and some food.

A little insignificant detail is that I have new shoes. I admire them, as you do. Also, I never imagined there was such a thing as carrot wine, even more so that it tasted this good.

“I must write this on Facebook: Drinking carrot wine, in Vienna, Austria. Even though I don’t write much on Facebook nowadays, this is worth mentioning.”

Maybe you have already guessed; I woke up. Every little thing seemed so real, I could not believe it didn’t actually happen. Honestly, who has dreams like that? Carrot wine?! Where on earth did I get the idea about that one.

I google it, and surprise, surprise, there is such a thing as carrot wine (!). Apparently you can make it at home. If you are interested, have a look yourself. Since I have no intention of making it, I cannot recommend one recipe over another; I let you use your own judgement if you choose to give it a try.

But who would have thought it actually exists.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 20th February 2016)
Photo from here.

The house of peace in the country of war

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Around the time I was twelve years old my family moved from a small flat in Zagreb, where we lived with one of my Grannies, to a house in the suburbs. I complained, I didn’t want to move. I had good childhood friends there, I loved the neighbourhood, I went out for walks in the nearby park with people who had dogs, while we had none. Both the dogs and their owners were my friends and I loved that. I liked the part of town where I grew up, I was there since my birth. I didn’t want nor need a different home. ‘Home’, a word that would in my late teens deepen and change meaning, and the external image that I will in the future associated with it will shift outside of my native Croatia, at that time was still none-negotiable.

I had two years of primary school to finish and I didn’t want to go to a new school. We would move to a village in the suburb of Zagreb and I didn’t want to live in a village. As you can tell, for one who was a rather happy child I was quite unhappy with the decision to move somewhere else. I said I will not study and I made sure to make it very clear that I will protest before and after we change our address. But with all the hustle I created verbally, I was the first one to settle. Strangely, I got to love it there.

First of all, our new house was exactly that, a house. It was not big but compared to the flat where we lived until then, it was a palace. What is more, I had my own room. The house had the ground flour and the top flour. The living room downstairs had a fancy sofa on which we often watched TV. In-between other rooms there was a corridor out of which a set of wooden stairs led upstairs to the attic where my brother and I had rooms, each on one side of the house. The window in my room looked towards the sky. Beneath it was a desk where I studied, and since I would soon-after turn into a diligent student, that desk was well used. My room in that house was a room where many of my dreams were born.

Outside, leading to the front door, was the front yard, with a beautiful cherry-blossom tree just near the house. At the back was a small garden where we initially grew vegetables. Later on my parents decided to plant the grass there instead, but we first tended to the garden for a few years. I hated working in that garden, and naturally my parents thought it important I helped in that area of house-work too. How I ended up being someone who loves gardening now, I do not know. If someone told my ‘teenage-me’ that I will develop green fingers and become a-self-thought expert in indoor gardening, she would laugh and say “tell me another joke, this is a good one”. Perhaps in all my complaining a little seed from the garden of my youth fell into my heart and it blossomed many years after, when I moved to the country of my dreams where I live now.

Yet this house from my childhood would soon be overshadowed with war, missiles and the sound of bombs. I must have been twelve when Croatia voted for the independence and when the war started. I was pretty much sheltered from it all, unlike many I could still keep my childhood and was not forced to grow up over night. But I did hear the bombs, saw the news, and the terror got soaked within my skin-pores. The emergency sirens would notify us that danger was near on a very regular basis. If I was at school at the time, which was fifteen minute walk from my family home, the whole class, in fact the whole school would seek refuge in the basement of a nearby house. For us kids it was a time for celebration, for it meant less time spent at school. Play was one of my ways of escapism, I guess, but I didn’t know it at the time. You do need to find ways to remain sane in the time of war. Thankfully sometimes the ideas would come out of our childhood innocence, somehow naturally, as if imagination and survival were very obvious options to take as a child. If the sirens were sounded while I was at home, we had to go to the centre of the house, at the bottom of the wooden stairs, and wait there until the danger passed. That was the most secure part of the house, and we spent many hours there.

I must have been around fifteen or a bit older when the war was over, but life goes on, even during the war, and so year after year growing up in that house my deepest dreams were born. A vision of the country far away from where I lived started to grow within me. Those dreams inhabited the word ‘home’, and even though I loved the house where my teenage room was, deep down in my heart I knew that is not where I belong.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 20th April 2015)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

Behind the locked door

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There is a dream
you keep
behind the locked door
of fear and uncertainty

with trembling you
put away the key
away from your memory,
telling yourself
the door
is locked for good
the other side
like a star on the sky
outside of you reach
so you live your life
unwilling to look that way
yet in your heart
there is an ache
a longing
the dream lives
like a seed
behind the shut door
perhaps in the shade of your
it has even grown

there is a tenderness inside
that you so skilfully hide
it knocks from within
your soul
asking to let it go
release the key into the
and allow yourself to
breathe new life
into that hidden area
of your heart

there is a dream you
in your waking moments
unconscious reveries;
but what if
on the Easter morn
the light of hope
like a key went through
and opened your door wide
so that your dream can no longer hide?

What if that light
released its strength and the seed
started growing
reaching towards the air?

The door no longer locked,
your fear defeated
laying on the ground
would you nurture the seed
or rush to wake the sleeping fear
telling it to lock the door again?

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 6th April 2015)

Beneath the clouds

2015-02-17 red rose

Beneath the clouds where roses grow, I picked up a pebble walking near the shore. I felt its smooth texture as it nearly melted in my touch. Holding it tight I heard a poet say:

“throw away that pebble, let go of that dream; if it’s made of gold and is to keep,
it will shine on you tomorrow from the sky, turned into the fresh morning Sun…”

But I was afraid to let go, for what if this one was made of love, not of gold?

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, March 2015)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

If you find my home


I left my home behind
in the room of memories
where dreams sometimes hide,
I left all I knew
in a suitcase
packed in a room
locked all the goodbye’s
and went into the world
to search for new
but I found none
that satisfied my heart

A room where dreams
are born
is but a humble abode
of teenage tears and hopes
that spring from deep
within my heart,
out of the seeds
that germinated in my soul
from before I was born

They guided me
like a lamp from
within my soul
but then the oil of my heart
would burn no more
My soul was ablaze
with longing
with pain
but it produced no fire
to light my way

In the desert of my longings
one dream flourished
impossible though it seemed,
but it birthed another
deeper dream
whose seeds were planted
even further within;
the first was a true home
but this other
is where my heart belongs

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, January-March 2015)