The poetry of John O’Donohue has long held the serendipitous capacity to speak to me with the right words at the right time. His collection of poems in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (New York: Doubleday, 2008) has accompanied me most recently through the summer I spent as a hospital chaplain intern and now as a pastoral intern (vicar) during my penultimate year of seminary. O’Donohue’s poems are at once full of a clarity and a vagueness that lend themselves to devotional and contemplative practices.
While he does have two poems most appropriate for this turning of the year (“At the End of the Year” and “A Blessing for the New Year”), I want to share another that I think equally, if not surpassingly, offers me, and I hope you, wisdom in this interim between ending and beginning.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
– John O’Donohue, “For Longing” (35-36)
With blessings for graceful endings and hopeful beginnings this new year that fulfill your deepest longings, and as always,
Peace be yours,