In this fragile frontier-place, your kindness
Becomes the light that consoles the broken-hearted,
Awakens within desperate storms
That oasis of serenity that calls
The spirit to rise from beneath the weight of pain,
To create a new space in the person’s mind
Where they gain distance from their suffering
And begin to see the invitation
To integrate and transform it.
May you embrace the beauty in what you do
And how you stand like a secret angel
Between the bleak despair of illness
And the unquenchable light of spirit
That can turn the darkest destiny towards dawn.
John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For a Nurse,’ found in his books:
To Bless the Space Between Us (US) / Benedictus (Europe)
“In this fragile frontier-place, your kindness
Becomes the light that consoles the broken-hearted…”
There have never been two lines more beautifully written encapsulating the sacred vocation of a nurse and in a much larger sense, all healthcare workers. In the world of only a few months ago, our busy innocent lives raced along to a rhythm of survival based upon being successful, serving the dreams of ourselves that someone else dreamt. We gave a respectful yet distant nod to these special people, the full front line healthcare community selflessly working together in so many different capacities. When our own step faltered, we stumbled and were brought under their care, tasting their kindness but afterwards, we ‘had to get back’ to our own busy lives.
However, the ground has shifted and we are standing in a ‘new world’ where the tiniest of monsters holds us hostage. As we retreat indoors for safety and survival, attempting to limit the spread of this unseen enemy, our vital defense are these amazing people who care for our dying family, friends and fellow humans, putting their own health and lives in danger. We are deeply honored John’s work is being used by healthcare staff and hospitals around the globe to penetrate the gathering darkness, bringing light, healing and sustenance for the difficult path ahead. These people are the heroes of the human battle for survival. We must never forget their courage and kindness.
May the words of another blessing of John’s come to mind for you all:
“May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, without you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.”
The O’Donohue family, on behalf of John.
Photo: Co. Clare / Ireland © Ann Cahill