Do you ever encounter moments in your life when you just don't have words to express what you feel — and then you come upon a song or a poem or some other work of art that simply does the talking for you?
Earlier this year, my friend, Randy, gave me a book that, in so many ways, has spoken the words I couldn't find for myself. "To Bless the Space Between Us" is a book of blessings that draws from the Celtic spiritual traditions of compiling insights and blessings for milestones and transitions.
John O'Donohue's book of blessings covers a range of experiences from embracing the morning to living in the uncertainty of a season to the birth or death of a person to the praise of beauty. It's both sacred and poetic. It's both universal and specific. When James and I were packing for our month-long trip to Africa in March, it was the one non-Kindle book I wanted to bring with me. It continues to stay near me. Sometimes, we just need words of blessing by our side.
So, for today, here are some words to speak to your heart.
by John O'Donohue
As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.
As the ocean absolves itself
Of the expectation of land,
In the form of waves
That fill and pleat and fall
With such gradual elegance
As to make of the limit
A sonorous threshold
Whose music echoes back among
The give and strain of memory,
Thus may your heart know the patience
That can draw infinity from limitation.
As the embrace of the earth
Welcomes all we call death,
Taking deep into itself
The right solitude of a seed,
Allowing it time
To shed the grip of former form
And give way to a deeper generosity
That will one day send it forth,
A tree into springtime,
May all that holds you
Fall from its hungry ledge
Into the fecund surge of your heart.
from: "To Bless the Space Between Us" by John O'Donohue. Pub in 2008 by Doubleday.
p.s. Here's another one of my favorites from Martha Postlethwaite.