For Love in the Time of Conflict

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I often find myself clinging to the words of others when I have none of my own, or when I simply cannot seem to untangle the ones that are tied up in knots and racing around like a high-speed pursuit inside my head.  Poetry and music are my closest friends in times such as these. The words inside such songs and poems speak the words inside my heart when my lips cannot manage to find the strength to utter them on their own. The words of others often offer me a fresh perspective in times of worry, growth, longing, exhaustion, new beginnings, thanksgiving, and despair. These words are a true gift — a blessing sent down from heaven, like little balloons of hope lifting me up when I am down, giving me just enough strength keep going when the day is long and hard, and the nights are even longer.  Then with the same token, these precious words of others guide me to give praise to the One who carries me through it all.


For Love in the Time of Conflict

by John O’Donahue

When the gentleness between you hardens

And You fall out of your belonging with each other,

May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said, or heard,

And you mirror each other in the script of hurt

when even the silence has become raw and torn,

May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel

And anger begins to sear the ground between you,

Before this weather of grief invites

The black seed of bitterness to find root,

May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,

To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,

Reach out with sure hands

To take the chalice of your love,

And carry it carefully through this echoless waste

Until the winter pilgrimage leads you

Toward the gateway of spring.


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