Photo by Javardh / Unsplash

Have you ever had one of those moments when what you needed most (or didn’t know you needed) seemed to suddenly appear, out of nowhere?

My husband and I were taking a walk this past Sunday afternoon in a neighborhood a couple of blocks from downtown when I noticed what appeared to be a wooden picture frame mounted on a post in someone’s front yard. It caught my eye because at first glance I thought it might be a little free library. (I’m always on the lookout for those.) No, this was just a frame with something printed behind the glass. Maybe a real estate flyer? But there was no for sale sign in the yard. I crossed the street to check it out. It was a poem, displayed for anyone who might be happening by. A friendly woman came out of the house, saw us reading and said, “I’ll be putting a new one out tomorrow; every Monday usually.” What a neat idea! I thanked her.

This poem couldn’t have presented itself at a more perfect time. I immediately shared it with a family member and a close friend, both of whom are struggling with some issues.

The ongoing atrocities in Ukraine have been weighing heavily on my mind. Perhaps that’s why this poem resonated with me.

For One Who is Exhausted, A Blessing

by John O'Donohue

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

2 replies on “Serendipity”

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