Tag Archives: gratitude

Mom, On Thanksgiving

Mom's prayer guide

As I’ve been thinking and writing about my mother this month, I’ve unearthed various letters and tidbits that bring her wit and wisdom roaring back… I published this as part of a post last week but it seemed somehow appropriate to bring this piece back in honor of our national holiday for gratitude…

A few days after my mother died, I found a book in her bedside table that contained 24 spiritual exercises “for healing life’s hurts.” I don’t remember taking it, but I must have, because I stumbled across it again this week, in a cupboard, forgotten. There was her first name in her careful right-leaning cursive, the top and bottom of the “E” of Eileen curling back upon itself, the “n” swooping east in a long, straight stroke. Other than the cover, only one page of the book bears her handwriting, the third lesson, entitled “The Healing Power of Gratitude.” She underlined this passage: “(S)ometimes just letting ourselves be loved can solve so many problems. When we let go and just soak up love from the Lord and others who care for us, we have a whole new power to go on again.” Next to this, in a slightly shaky hand, she wrote, “God doesn’t walk out on me — I walk out on him.”

Gratitude was a common theme in the letters we exchanged over the years. When we spoke by phone, living 800 miles apart, we often struck sparks off one another, but on paper we were forced to listen. (I say “we,” but more likely it was me who had the interrupting habit.) She almost always began with news of her church “doings,” good Episcopalian churchwoman that she was. A letter I received when I was single and working in Los Angeles — now bundled with others in a box — was written in her classic vein. She began by noting that she was “piddling around” getting some things done, including publicity about the United Thank Offering, which she lamented was rarely used as it was intended. One was supposed to put coins in the Blue Box as a personal spiritual discipline for acknowledging the good little things that happen every day. She wrote, “I admit that I frequently forget to use it but I do remember a lot of the time to say thank you, God, when I get a lovely letter such as yours which came yesterday, or Dad shows his appreciation for something — or maybe because I didn’t have a flat tire when I was in a hurry and late — this past week I have been grateful when there may have been a whole 24 hours this puppy of your brother’s didn’t dig something up in the yard — or managed to hit the papers during the night.” She ended that long train of thought paragraph by saying she just wished the timing of babysitting my brother’s dog was different so that she could get on with gardening.

Even that last bit is true to form. On the page, she just shrugs her shoulders and moves on. The dog digs. The garden will suffer. We shall overcome. I can think of dozens of examples when she took far bigger things in stride. Her anger worked the same way. She yelled, said her peace, gave as good as she got. But when the argument was over, she didn’t resurrect it. Her lexicon seemed nearly devoid of those negative emotions that require time to fester: blame, guilt, spite. She wasn’t one to let things marinate.

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for so much, but, Mom, you are at the top of the list.

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With Gratitude: Seeing Red

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All summer and fall, I’ve been trying to write about my mother, who died in 1999. I thought I was at peace with her when she died. I had been one of her hospice caregivers during the months she struggled for breath, and I was with her at the moment of her passing. At one point, she even made a speech in which she said everything I ever hoped she would say to me. My mother and I had no unfinished business, or so I thought.

But every time I went to write about her, I remembered a particular instance in which she threw underhanded, called me a name, apologized later. It became my personal whack-a-mole. No matter what I was writing about — my childhood, my father, my husband, my own children up the incident popped. Yes, her comment was mean. But why skewer her? If she were alive, we could have a good fight about it, a fair fight. That one scene did not a relationship make. There were hundreds of other scenes — thousands — I could have brought to mind, but I was stuck. The words would not come.  Until I opened the box with the Chinese brocade.

I don’t know what possessed me to go spelunking in my attic last week, but I felt compelled to pull out some of the stuff I have squirreled away in nooks and crannies. I’ve inherited some stuff, and collected other bits when my father moved out of his house in 2003. On this particular day I went looking for the bins I stored among dusty luggage, abandoned briefcases and boxes of seldom-used holiday decorations. The last time I opened one, I think, was when one of my children mined it for show-and-tell. Both of my children are out of college now, so that had to be long ago, at least a dozen years back.

Through the translucent side of the top bin, the contents looked like layers, vanilla except for a ribbon of red. What could possibly be so unabashedly red? I removed the packing tape, so old it it cracked rather than peeled, to discover what was on top. Oh, it’s you, I thought, as I extracted the remnant of silk. Left over from the cheongsam my mother had made when we lived in Hawaii, I greeted it like a long lost friend. It’s red without the pop of orange, red without a calming hint of blue: red for blood, red for lust, red for love. It’s red as in red-white-and-blue for the nation’s birthday, which my mother conscripted into a celebration of her own every July 3rd.

When I touched the fabric, still as vibrant as it was 50 years ago, I could see my mother laughing, regaling the family with the story of how she had pointed to where the slit should end, mid-thigh, and how the seamstress kept gesturing to a spot a foot lower and shaking her head: “not Chinese lady.” I remembered my mother showing off the finished product, her curves straining against the thick brocade, her thigh peeking forth a full three inches above the knee. My mother had movie star legs and feet so lovely they landed her a college job modeling shoes at I. Magnin, the nicest store in Seattle. Did the shoe models parade down a runway curtained like a puppet stage, I used to wonder, so that only the calves and ankles showed? My grandfather, who knew more than he should have about a nicely turned leg, reportedly told my father upon meeting her, “Son, a pretty face will fade away but a good pair of legs is a joy forever.” She was never traditionally pretty — exotic, yes, with the olive skin of the Black Irish, cheekbones like Mt. Rushmore, pillowy lips and dark brown eyes that snapped beneath lids that almost lacked folds. An interesting face, a strong face, but not one that could precisely be called pretty.  Her hair, in the last ten years before her death, was more gray than brown but what she lamented was the increase in shoe size that followed the birth of five children. The beautiful shoes she’d received in exchange for modeling — the pumps and the sling backs and the snappy navy Spectators — all had to be given away.

I wrote, “Oh, it’s you,” because my mother felt more fully present than she had in years. Seeing the silk made me want to laugh and yell red, red, red, red, red! God, my mother loved red, and red loved her back. My father had a bouquet of Shakespearian sonnets he would offer up to her — or use to extol her after her death — but my favorite was Sonnet 130 with its dripping irony: “…I have seen roses damasked, red and white,/But no such roses see I in her cheeks.” I can see him at the dining room table, looking at my mother, smiling a half smile as his baritone voice marked off the meter, ending with, “…I think my love as rare,/As any she belied with false compare.”

Once I had touched the silk, she seemed to be woven into everything. Below the red silk was a pink bed jacket that had been my grandmother’s but it was my mother who told me about it. Now that I think about it, that brief exchange was just so my mother. I know she missed her mother, who lived with us for many years — she was a big help with the children — but I don’t think she kept the old lingerie for its utility. So far as I know, she never used it. I think she kept it for its sentimental value, for the same reason that I cannot purge it. I thought of her again when, at the bottom of the bin, I saw a little christening robe with an embroidered wooly kitten. I’m almost certain it was made for my sister.

My sister, Madeline Elizabeth, was born in 1950 and died on October 22, 1953, two days before my father’s birthday. They called her Midge. She was my parents’ third child, planned to be their last. At thirty-two, my mother had her daughter.

Sometime around Midge’s first birthday, my parents noticed that she was tired and listless, not the energetic little girl she’d been. My father’s brother, a doctor who specialized in blood cancers, came down from Boston to examine her. He took a sample of bone marrow from her hip and diagnosed leukemia. For almost three years, my uncle treated her with an experimental drug. During Midge’s last remission, the family vacationed on the Northeastern shore. In one picture, she held my father’s hand, looking shy. Even though she was not yet four, she wore size 6 clothing due to the weight gain that was a side effect of medication. It embarrassed her, my mother told me.

Then the remission ended. The leukemia advanced rapidly, and after she was taken to the hospital, my brothers never saw her again. They weren’t allowed to say goodbye, or attend her memorial service, or visit her grave; in 1953, that’s what experts recommended. Midge’s death must have brought my parents to their knees, but my mother muscled through it. She would have done well in ancient Sparta. She had two other children to care for, then six and ten, and she had recently learned that she was expecting. Again, the experts weighed in, advising an abortion since the stress might be too much for her or the baby. This time, my parents ignored the counsel. My brother Dean was born in April 1954. I followed three years later.

I remember seeing my mother cry only once. She was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes and looking at me, looking at me but not really seeing me. I asked her why she was sad and she told me she was thinking about my sister.

After my mother died, I found a book in my mother’s bedside table that contained 24 spiritual exercises “for healing life’s hurts.” I stumbled across it again yesterday, in a cupboard, forgotten. The first thing that struck me, besides its red cover (now that she is on my mind, I see red everywhere) was her name written in pen. There is her name in her careful right-leaning cursive, the top and bottom of the “E” of Eileen curling back upon itself, the “n” swooping east in a long, straight stroke. The book’s pages are a little water logged, as if she read it in the bathroom and accidentally dropped it in water. Other than the cover, only one page of the book bears her handwriting, the third lesson, entitled “The Healing Power of Gratitude.” Here is my clue, perhaps, as to how my mother handled the losses in her life. She underlined this passage: “(S)ometimes just letting ourselves be loved can solve so many problems. When we let go and just soak up love from the Lord and others who care for us, we have a whole new power to go on again.” Next to this, in a slightly shaky hand, she wrote, “God doesn’t walk out on me — I walk out on him.”

Is this how she muscled through? By putting her faith in God? By practicing gratitude? Gratitude was a common theme in the letters we exchanged over the years. When we spoke by phone, living 800 miles apart, we often struck sparks off one another, but on paper we were forced to listen. (I say “we,” but more likely it was me who had the interrupting habit.) She almost always began with news of her church “doings,” good Episcopalian churchwoman that she was. A letter I received when I was single and working in Los Angeles was written in her classic vein. She began by noting that she was “piddling around” getting some things done, including publicity about the United Thank Offering, which she lamented was rarely used as it was intended. One was supposed to put coins in the Blue Box as a personal spiritual discipline for acknowledging the good little things that happen every day. “I admit that I frequently forget to use it but I do remember a lot of the time to say thank you, God, when I get a lovely letter such as yours which came yesterday, or Dad shows his appreciation for something — or maybe because I didn’t have a flat tire when I was in a hurry and late — this past week I have been grateful when there may have been a whole 24 hours this puppy of your brother’s didn’t dig something up in the yard — or managed to hit the papers during the night.” She ended that long train of thought paragraph by saying she just wished the timing of babysitting my brother’s dog was different so that she could get on with gardening.

Even that last bit is true to form. On the page, she just shrugs her shoulders and moves on. The dog digs. The garden will suffer. We shall overcome. I can think of dozens of examples when she seemed to take far bigger challenges in stride. When my middle brother came home from his sophomore year of college to announce that his girlfriend was pregnant, there were no recriminations. My mother just rolled with it. In my brother moved with his new wife and baby. Her anger worked the same way. She yelled, said her peace, gave as good as she got. But when the argument was over, she didn’t resurrect it. Her emotional lexicon seemed nearly devoid of those negative emotions that take their time to grow and then fester: blame, guilt, spite. She wasn’t one to let things marinate.

I inherited my mother’s ability to compartmentalize, although I’m a journeyman in comparison. I could use more of her joy, her appreciativeness, her unbridled passion. (I’m passionate, mind you, but more given to a more bridled variety.) I could do with more of her ability to forgive — obviously, if I had a hard time letting go of the one time that she threw a slur in my direction.

After she died, I typed out a list of words to describe her: proud, opinionated, funny, bold, independent, nurturing, dedicated, faithful, feminine but never frail, organized, a leader, passionate, fiery, loving.

There was nothing pastel about her.

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Aging Gracefully… or Disgracefully?

Official Portrait, Promotion to Colonel, 1959

Official Portrait, Promotion to Colonel, 1959

Somewhere along the line, word got out that I knew something about aging parents. During the seven years that I cared for my father, and the eighteen months since, I’ve received many a call or email from adult children – correction, daughters – who were deeply concerned about their parent’s welfare and at sea when it came to figuring out solutions. One was a friend who was actually collecting information on behalf of her husband, although the husband didn’t know she was looking for advice and she was uncertain how much she could suggest to him. If the wise men had been women, so the old joke goes, they would have arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, brought practical gifts and there would be peace on earth – all because they asked directions.

After a while, my marketer’s brain started to look at their stories as data that fell into two groups: those whose parents who were grateful for a little help, and those who seemed to become nasty and difficult. Call it aging gracefully versus disgracefully. I don’t mean to be flippant or suggest that a bunch of elders are out there besmirching the family reputation. Aside from a few outliers who were sociopaths in their youthful years and whose tendencies ripened with time, the latter group is made up of people who were once decent human beings before age stripped them of their filter and embittered them. Their younger selves would be disappointed in their older selves.

My father fell into the changed-for-the-better group. When I was growing up, his authority was absolute. He did not yell or hurl scornful statements or fling barbs. He said little. He didn’t have to. I knew – my brothers and I all knew – when we were on thin ice. It was in my father’s eyes. He froze and simply looked at us – a level stare, unflinching. We were put on notice without a word. He transformed into The Colonel. There were no coiled muscles waiting to explode – the telltale sign of a violent father. Nothing in our experience suggested that he would strike. He was too controlled. But something in his eyes hinted at a potential. He later described his own father as “severe” and his older brother as a bully; harassed to the point of retaliation, he described futilely trying to wound his brother only to be held out of reach as his brother laughed at him. Maybe my sense of threat came from a glimpse of something long buried, the soldier self that enabled him to survive WWII. He said nothing, he did nothing, but I feared my father; loved him, longed for his approval, competed for his attention, but feared him.

The danger dissipated with age; whatever reservoir of anger he had stored up leaked away. He did not rail at the indignities of aging, though he did not like them. This business of the bladder for example. Whose idea was it to make peeing both difficult – a long time coming and an anemic stream once started – and hard to control, so much so that my father avoided going anywhere without a bathroom in sight and more than once ended up urinating in my neighbor’s yard when he couldn’t make it back to my house during a walk? And no one expects an old person to be funny. My father would jest and I would have to explain to his audience, in the silence that followed, “That was a joke.” Most people did not address my father; they would first address me, speaking of my father to me, treating him like an imbecile. His aging made me angry but it did not seem to affect him that way.

I can’t let go of my questions. During those seven years and in the time since he’s died, I continue to wonder: how is it that one elder becomes kinder, and another mean? Is there a way to influence or control how one feels about the many cruelties of aging? What will happen to me?

I read and hypothesize. An op-ed by Arthur C. Brooks in the New York Times boils things down to an equation. One describes oneself as a happy person when one’s happiness (y) is greater than one’s unhappiness (x): when y > x. He wasn’t writing about aging, in fact his point was that the most unhappy people are self-aggrandizing, materialistic fame-seekers or promiscuous hedonists, people who are generally in their prime. The answer to happiness, he concluded, is to love people, not things: “It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others – family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies.”

Aging is nothing if not a punch to the solar plexus of pride. But assaults on one’s pride don’t seem to explain who will transform into kinder and gentler versions of their younger selves.

One friend of mine theorizes that women are better prepared for old age because of the many adjustments they have to make in their self-image. With the arrival of one’s “monthly visitor” or “period” or “curse,” suddenly you’re transformed into a woman, someone capable of bearing another human being. Being pregnant is a different kind of shock. Love or hate the experience, hardly anyone is neutral. Besides feeling like an alien in one’s own body, or worse, feeling like one is gestating an alien, the cultural rules bend sideways and suddenly someone you’re meeting for the first time puts his hand on your belly by way of introduction and says, “Hi, I’m Pete and I see you’re expecting a baby.” And let’s not even talk about menopause. (Beware, says the menopausal woman.) Unfortunately, I’ve heard just as many stories about difficult mothers as difficult fathers. Maybe more, because mothers more often push the hidden buttons that fathers don’t even know exist.

Then there is the school of suffering. As David Brooks wrote in the New York Times, “Recovering from suffering is not like recovering from a disease. Many people don’t come out healed; they come out different.” I know this was true in my father’s case. He was a different father after the death of my sister Midge, who died just short of her fourth birthday. He often referred to the different way he and my mother parented my two older brothers compared to how they raised us two “youngers.” The difference can’t be explained by the seven year gap between the pairs of children or my parents’ increased age – 40 and 41 when I was born. David Brooks continues: “Instead of recoiling from the sorts of loving commitments that almost always involve suffering, they throw themselves more deeply into them. Even while experiencing the worst and most lacerating consequences, some people double down on vulnerability. They hurl themselves deeper and gratefully into their art, loved ones and commitments.”

In Brooks’ statement, “vulnerability” sounds right, but it’s the “gratefully” that resounds. My father became more grateful as he aged, grateful for the wife and daughter he loved, even when they were beyond his reach in death, grateful to be welcomed into a family, even though he lost his independence, grateful for the years of life that had somehow, miraculously, been granted to him, even during the days of pain and confusion. Did gratitude make him more tender, or did tenderness make him more grateful?

This is a problem I am unable to solve. My father’s kindness overflowed; I know because I experienced it everyday. Gordon Morino, professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, wrote, “…in moments of tenderness it is as though the ego and all its machinations momentarily melt away so that our feelings are heightened and we are perhaps moved by the impulse to reach out with a comforting hand.” My father did not mourn what he lost – his virility, his independence, his place in the world. On Christmas Day, eighteen days before he died, I asked if he had enjoyed his holiday morning. He answered, “It’s enough being here.”

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Gratuituous Grace On Thanksgiving

candle

Eighteen days ago, one of my oldest friends was suddenly ripped away from all of us who love her. Five days later, her husband asked me contact a couple of her friends, friends that dated back to our college days. He closed our phone conversation with, “I love you.”

That wasn’t something he normally would have said to me. But a terrible loss like this one is a reminder of how dear people are to us, and how quickly things can change. We are shaken by the shoulders and reminded to notice things that hover just beyond our attention, people for whom we are grateful. Now.

I’ve been re-reading Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek this week. Yesterday I recorded this quote, “Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization. Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won’t see it.”

As Thanksgiving approaches, I look around me and see so much beauty. I see you, husband, my personal Mighty Mouse who continually saves (my) day by being so utterly reliable and unfailingly loving and who puts up with my Gemini self. I see you, daughter, not only for your talent, but your wisdom in being able to sense when people are going through difficult periods and your ability to be ready to support them even when they are not yet ready to accept help or support. I see you, son, your burgeoning talents, authenticity, sense of wonder and openness to all kinds of people.

I see you brothers, through our differences, for the loving, honorable and enduring presence that you are in my life. I see you, beloved nieces, nephews, and even great nephews, for the light in your eyes when we meet, which is nowhere near as often as I would wish. I see you, in-laws, for the umbrella of security and acceptance that you have created for my family, and for me. I see you, family who are more than family, Lynn, Louise and Mary, who always seem to reach out at just the right moment.

And I see you, friends. I’ve talked most about my female friends, who have been my pillars, but my guy friends have always been stalwart supports in my life. I see you, Howie, Bill, Pete, Jim and Mario.

And, yes, you female friends who always stand by: Ellen, Sandy, Lisa, Tammy, Cheryl, Collette, Wendi, Tracy, Sharon, Debbie O, Linda, Nancy, Judee, “Babes” (you know who you are) and probably more who I have inadvertently left off.

There is one name missing from that inventory of people I hold dear today, one who is gone from this world but smiling from the next. It is you, Deb, who is reminding me from afar to pay attention. I did not hold you close as I could have — should have — in recent years. Sure, I have decent excuses, but none of them seem good enough right now. I list you last, but not least.

Dillard wrote:

“Unless all ages and races of men have been deluded by the same mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous… (B)eauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

I am trying to be there and notice you all, you who I love.

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The Friends Who (Always) Stand By

Ellen

Yesterday I awakened to an early morning message from my best-oldest best friend, who I have often described as “the one into whose arms I fell” when I was in 7th grade, the one who saved me as a newbie in junior high. She wrote, “I am feeling full of love and appreciation for the important people in my life. Just wanted you to know.”

And last week, a friend that I haven’t spent much time with since she moved in 1992 or 1993 drove all the way from Chapel Hill to stand beside our family at Mom and Dad’s burial. She’s the one who wouldn’t let me go to D.C. alone in May, when I made the trip to the Capitol to try to secure a burial date from Arlington National Cemetery.

Sharon

Tonight, one of my closest friends is driving up from the Bay Area to join the weekly Caregivers’ Social Club.

Lisa

There are more.* I don’t know how I rate these friends in my life. But I’m not complaining.

Long ago, I picked up a cheesy book full of aphorisms by a Canadian talk show host named Merle Shain (When Lovers Are Friends). This quote always stuck with me:

“(Friends) are like the pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, and sometimes they lean on you, and sometimes it’s just enough to know they’re standing by.”

So much is written about the value of friends, particularly the value of female friends to one another. I love writing – anyone who stops by here can figure that out – but when I try to express in words what these friendships mean to me, I feel like a fish. My jaw moves up and down, but no words come out.

So here I am this morning, speechless, wordless, overflowing with love for the blessings in my life. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past years without them. I hope I can be half the support to them that they are to me.

*Wendi, Tracy, Sandy, Judee, Tamalon, Collette, Nancy, Cheryl, Deb…

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Everyday Moments

outside my bedroom this morning

Here’s what I didn’t do when I first awakened this morning: I didn’t wonder to myself if Dad was awake yet or whether this might be the morning that I found he had slipped away.

And last night, I didn’t begin my bedtime meditation asking for God to release Dad and take him home.

And at dinner time, as Todd and I dined outside for the first time with the arrival of balmy BBQ weather, I didn’t watch Dad’s eyes as he admired the growth of the redwood tree next door, or listen as he launched into, “Light thickens, and the crow makes wing to th’ rooky wood.”

Losing someone you love is a big change, even when it’s expected, but what I notice most are the small things – the everyday moments that have taken new shape.

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On My Trip I Took A…

cappadocia

When you lose someone – expectedly or unexpectedly – many supportive people and institutions come forth with suggestions about what to expect. They want to do what they can, say what they can, to help you heal.

The information from hospice is, well, informative: After the death of a loved one, “The resulting grief is a normal and natural response to loss. The struggle to adjust may be difficult and one of the most meaningful experiences of our lives.”

Over two months has gone by and I’m still in no rush to understand or “process” my experience. The only frame of reference that makes sense to me is traveling. I don’t have a destination in mind. I’m not trying to achieve a state of “healed” or “recovered,” in part because I don’t feel damaged or unhealthy. I’m just going.

When my son, Thom, took off Monday on his four-month study abroad program, I found and shared this poem with him. It spoke to me of my hopes for his experience, but it also helped me to recognize that journeying is a pretty good metaphor for this thing I’m doing.

It also brought to mind an old game we played with our children. We would go back and forth, adding to an ever-lengthening alphabetical list of ever-crazier things that had to be remembered after the phrase, “On my trip, I took a…,” until someone lost by forgetting. (On my trip, I took an apple, and a boat, and a curmudgeon, and a diary…)

I’m on my trip. And I’m not alone. I’m taking the love of my family and friends, the beauty of nature, the inspiration of art, a trunk full of memories, the still-palpable presence of my father’s spirit, and faith.

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

~ John O’Donohue ~

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