Thursday, August 13, 2015

John O'Donohue

Beauty is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.
John O’Donohue
On Sunday, August 9, KristaTippett’s “On Being” guest was John O’Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher who died in 2008. I was introduced to him when the planning group of Mary Magdalene, First Apostle, came to my house to mark my move away from MMFA. This is the womanpriest group I left because its interpretation of doctrine is more literal than mine.

We celebrated my transition in a ritual—not my idea, theirs, and a healing gift to me. The greatest gift given me that afternoon was a poem by John O’Donohue that impresses me still with its understanding of a heart’s passage to freedom:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear,
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your heart's desire.

Awaken your spirit of adventure;
Hold nothing back; learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

This poem so perfectly captures my process in leaving that I suspect the MMFA leader who chose it understands how it was with me.

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