"May the Road Rise up to Meet You." Huh?

I woke up this morning thinking, "May the road rise up to meet you." Don't ask why - I have no idea. And then, in my semi-conscious state, it occurred to me for the first time ever that I had no idea what that might mean.

Isn't that weird. I have seen it for years and even prayed it a few times. I thought I knew what it meant but ... when I stopped to think I was stumped.

I can imagine a drunk chap falling over and the road rising up to meet him. I don't suppose that this is the sentiment unless it is a prayer for drunken people with a sense of humour.

I can imagine walking along a road and as I take each step ... hooray! the road is still there rising up to meet me. But that can't be right. It is so mundane.

So here is my guess. Imagine that you are going on a journey (literal or metaphorical) and the way forward is not clear. You cannot see the road. The prayer is then that as you go forward the right path would spring up as you go. That sounds plausible.

So am I right? To be honest I don't care that much but I am too tired to write anything 'profound' right now.


Jennifer Brien said…
It has always bothered me too. As I cyclist I try ot avoid having the road rise to meet me!

It's a poor translation from the original Irish "go n'eirigh do bothair leat' which means roughly "may you succeed in the path you take".
Robin Parry said…

How interesting. I ne'er knew that! I can understand that.

May you succeed in the cycle path you take

Robyn California said…
to me it means you know when something is the right path or destiny, when there is ease and synchronicity, not a fight or struggle. when the perfect person meets you at an exact moment to help you. when you find just what you need, just at the right moment.
that is the road rising up to meet you. i had that kind of day today!
i wrote down some metaphysical questions to the universe, am i on the right path? etc. and my answers came in the form of the road rising up to meet me! cool!
Anonymous said…
Well....imagine walking, for some time,along a narrow countryside road..beautiful lush green glens. Your off to town for bread and butter.! A creek runs along side the road. Hedges filled with raspberries... Breathtaking views. No homes or buildings in sight for miles. Just rolling fields off green.. Your getting tired now.... Not sure if your up for hill you see slowly approaching. You walk a bit more.. You take a break and look back on the distance you've made to realize your on the hill! It raised up to meet you!
Daniel Norton said…
The expression is a mistranslation of go n-éirí an bóthar leat. The mistranslated Irish word doesn’t literally translate to the same word in all usage, and the word that sometimes translates literally to “rise” would have a closer literal translation in “increase” or, more figuratively, “success.” The subject and object are also screwed up in the translation, which would correctly be closer to “May you succeed on your road,” i.e. more figuratively, bon voyage.
Robin Parry said…

That is very helpful. Thanks

Unknown said…
My dad would to know whether it means you are walking up a hill or down a hill.
Robin Parry said…
Jen, that is a good question!
Anonymous said…
Actually, it was made up by Episcopal Youth Minister, Rev. Richard Krejcir at All Saints Church, Carmel, CA, 1982 for a youth Irish party and dance event in at The Mission Ranch Restaurant. He took Num 6:24 merged it with a Gaelic "Go n-éiri an bóthar leat," which means may success be with you....
I love it! The simple words I was looking for... Thank you! ♡♡♡
I also imagine that it's a bit of a metaphor that the road would rise up on your journey to make your next step easier... maybe like a positive embrace of something familiar and solid on a journey of much uncertainty... so many ways to take this saying, but ultimately I think they all mean the same essential thing.
Watch the movie "Homeless to Harvard"... that's where I remember hearing it first.
Thank you for sharing!

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