But Not Today

Refiner’s Fire ©FrogDiva Photography

In September 2018 I published the following prayer of my favourite Philosopher and Theologian, John O’Donohue

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 

Healing is a painful process that catapults me into places I have ignored for so many years, or perhaps even avoided all my life, but all wounds require living with the ugly scabs before they can transform into scars. The prayer above I originally resorted to almost seven years ago after a horrible, racist, and disastrous encounter with an ignorant fool in Bangkok who humiliated me in public – outside a church, no less. Then there was the other fool here in Berlin who said he always wanted to buy a woman from my country.

Today I draw courage from it again, finding comfort and inspiration in the words

Don’t allow your sense of yourself to wilt.
Draw deep from your own dignity.

Disasters are constant travel companions, as are chaos and confusion.
Ask me what I find overwhelming at the moment, and I could tell you all about the challenges in my path; but not today.
Ask me where I find the courage, and I will admit that there are days I want to quit and vanish forever; but not today.
Ask me whether I have finally learned to cry, and I will tell you yes; but I will not do so, not today.
Ask me whether I will destroy the monsters who live in the virtual shadows and social media, and I will answer resolutely YES! but not today.

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