Sunday, September 18, 2011


There is so much struggle going on around me in lives of people I know. I really can't remember a time when more people seem to be on the edge. And they seem like serious edges. I find my mind and heart these days so often caught up in a longing for these people. It's a longing to see them cross the thresholds that lay between the familiar way of being that seems to be coming to an end and a completely new way of being that awaits on the other side of the threshold. Crossing over is not an easy task. It's down right scary and difficult. A change in directions is necessary. And often times the crossing requires personal change of a radical nature.

While on a long walk in the rain today with Bailey, this reality of these thresholds and the people I mentioned above occupied my thoughts. John O'Donohue speaks more clearly and eloquently about these things than anyone I've read, so many of his thoughts were running through me also while walking. When we arrived back home I googled his name along with the word Threshold to see what I might find. I found these words below and they happen to be from someone other than John. They were contained within a tribute to John written for him after his untimely death. They express so poignantly the difficulty that life so often can present and the hope that rests in us finding ourselves at a threshold and finding what we need in that moment to cross over, as John says, worthily.

When the light around you lessens,
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as stone inside.

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden with this night-corner

Invoke the learning of every suffering
You have suffered

Close your eyes
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
At its most rewarding threshold.

~~~ George Mackay Brown


Kel said...

it does seem to be more common for everyone to have a struggle of some sort going on

how lucky your friends are to have someone who mindfully attends to their struggle and finds such words as written by Mr Brown

i have tried my hand at writing blessings such as these too, there are links to them on my blog, but lately, with my own struggles overwhelming, it has been too hard to find instead I gratefully receive these for myself
thank you

Kent said...

Well Kel, I hope you find yourself soon on the other side looking back on the struggles that were....but are no more.

Kent said...

You do a wonderful job with your expressive writing on your blog. I've been skimming through your journal entries.

Sue said...

Both of you, Kent and Kel, write words that soothe my soul. Thank you :)

Thresholds and underworlds and darknesses and despair ... it all ends up being good. All those fairy stories of people going into dark forests full of danger and people waiting to eat them and coming out the other end with an unbuyable gift keep me focussed in those times.

And too, like George Brown wrote here, remembering that I am feeling in the dark because of my thinking is actually a real comfort to me. Reminds me that the light is there.

Kent said...

I love coming out the other end with an unbuyable gift