Blessings for a friend, on the arrival of illness by John O'Donoghue

Now is the time of dark invitation

Beyond a frontier that you did not expect;

Abruptly, your old life seems distant.

You barely noticed how each day opened

A path through fields never questioned,

Yet expected deep down to hold treasure.

Now your time on earth becomes full of threat;

Before your eyes your future shrinks.

You lived absorbed in the day to day,

So continuous with everything around you,

That you could forget you were separate;

Now this dark companion has come between you,

Distances have opened in your eyes,

You feel that against your will

A stranger has married your heart.

Nothing before has made you

Feel so isolated and lost.

When the reverberations of shock subside in you,

May grace come to restore you to balance.

May it shape a new space in your heart

To embrace this illness as a teacher

Who has come to open your life to new worlds.

May you find in yourself

A courageous hospitality

Towards what is difficult,

Painful and unknown.

May you use this illness

As a lantern to illuminate

The new qualities that will emerge in you.

May the fragile harvesting of this slow light

Help you to release whatever has become false in you.

May you trust this light to clear a path

Through all the fog of old unease and anxiety

Until you feel arising within you a tranquility

Profound enough to call the storm to stillness.

May you find the wisdom to listen to your illness:

Ask it why it came? Why it chose your friendship?

Where it wants to take you? What it wants you to know?

What quality of space it wants to create in you?

What you need to learn to become more fully yourself

That your presence may shine in the world.

May you keep faith with your body,

Learning to see it as a holy sanctuary

Which can bring this night-wound gradually

Towards the healing and freedom of dawn.

May you be granted the courage and vision

To work through passivity and self-pity,

To see the beauty you can harvest

From the riches of this dark invitation.

May you learn to receive it graciously,

And promise to learn swiftly

That it may leave you newborn,

Willing to dedicate your time to birth.

20 Replies

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  • Hoping this blessing gives comfort to others on this site as it has done for me.

  • That is truly positive in its darkness. haunting and magical. Thank you KateEvalen for sharing it with us :)

  • It's very beautiful, profound and skilfully captures all the feelings associated with CLL KateEvaLen. It certainly feels like 'a dark companion' has entered my life some days and is blocking the light I used to feel.

    Thanks for posting and sharing with us and glad it gives you comfort.

    Newdawn

  • Kate,

    I did ask my illness why it came. As yet, there has been no answer! Maybe tomorrow!

    God bless!

  • Wow, beautiful, so moving and so apt. Thank you x

  • So glad you liked it! It means so much to me and comforts me at the all-too-often low points.

  • Absolutely beautiful .Thankyou for sharing .

    Brenda ☺️

  • oh wow, this is awesome, really poignant and resonates with me in every line. I too see this 'visitor' as something to embrace and learn from, and from it I have done countless things and supported so many others, which would not have happened otherwise, it has almost been a double edged sword of a gift in my life - it makes me live!!

    thank you so much for sharing. May i share it on with others?

  • I'm so glad. Please do share. Hopefully others will find comfort in his beautiful words.

  • thank you I will share this via my facebook page (I have hardly ever mentioned my CLL on there, sometimes i wonder if i am wrong to do that, its almost like being embarrassed about it....) but I am thinking that as i get nearer to my chemo that i will need those friends to support me, and it might be a huge shock to some at that time.

    When is the right time to let people know about our CLL I wonder??

  • I think it's different for everyone. You'll know when it's right for you.

    Like you, I'm still in watch and wait and clinging onto it as chemo looks like it could be on the cards soon for me too. This group has helped me enormously.

    I'm wishing you everything good when Decision time finally comes.

  • Wow, that is so beautiful thank you x

  • That was beautifull kate I think you got too everbodys heart god bless and good luck too youre health all the best piere1ps hope yre getting better.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. Strange how words seem so much more compelling when written in verse.

  • Poets above all other writers, by boling down our anxieties and fears into words, help enormously. They allow is to process complex and difficult subjects, they illuminate truths, they articulate what we somehow know but find impossible to articulate. I'm so glad you enjoyed John's words.

  • Love it....

  • Beautiful Poem, Kate! Thank you for posting!

  • Thank you for sharing, seems to capture my inner feelings. Very poignant xx

  • A wonderful poem. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • You are so welcome and thanks for replying.

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