Now that you have entered with an open heart
Into a complex and fragile situation,
Hoping with patience and respect
To tread softly over sore ground in order
That somewhere beneath the raw estrangement
Some fresh spring of healing might be coaxed
To release the grace for a new journey
Beyond repetition and judgement,
And have achieved nothing of that,
But emerged helpless, and with added hurt…
Withdraw for a while into your own tranquillity,
Loosen from your heart the new fester.
Free yourself of the wounded gaze
That is not yet able to see you.
Recognize your responsibility for the past.
Don’t allow your sense of yourself to wilt.
Draw deep from your own dignity.
Temper your expectation to the other’s limits,
And take your time carefully,
Learning that there is a time for everything
And for healing too,
But that now is not that time… yet.
-After a destructive encounter
by John O’Donohue
from the book Benedictus
It has taken me months of hard work to reach the point where I say that I have stepped away from the destruction. Healing is a painful process that forces me to look in places I have run away from for so many years, or perhaps even avoided all my life. But all wounds require dealing with the ugly scabs before they can transform into scars. The prayer above I have hidden from for almost five years, and I first used it after a horrible, racist, and disastrous encounter with an ignorant fool who humiliated me in public and destroyed me – outside a church, no less.
Disaster is part of my life, as is chaos and confusion. Destructive and toxic people as well.
Ask me how I am, what scares me, what I find overwhelming at the moment, and I will tell you a long list of monsters that I face.
Ask me where I find the courage, and I will tell you no lies, admitting that there are days I want to quit and vanish forever.
Ask me whether I have learned to cry, and I will tell you no.
I will tell you.