Friday, August 28, 2009

The love at the edge of your soul

I love to listen to music when I'm driving: I put together compilations from time to time and find I will listen to a single compilation over and over for months on end. My guess is that it's usually symbolic in some way of whatever state I'm currently in, but I also suspect the music influences me in return.

Lately I've been listening to some rather achingly romantic pieces: The Prayer, by Andrea Bocelli; Someone Like You by Van Morrison; Bring Him Home from Les Mis; Michael McDonald's I Can Let Go Now; Beyonce singing At Last... The kind of music that makes your heart sing (unless it makes you want to throw up -- there have certainly been times in my life when songs like these have affected me that way!).

But it's clear something in me was experiencing a deep longing, and it took me a while to recognize that. Clearly my internal balance has been off -- though now it's finally beginning to shift back again -- so this morning I really appreciated these words from John O'Donohue's Anam Cara:

"Sometimes it is easy to be generous outward, to give and give and give and yet remain ungenerous to yourself. You lose the balance of your soul if you do not learn to take care of yourself. You need to be generous to yourself in order to receive the love that surrounds you.

You can suffer from a desperate hunger to be loved. You can search long years in lonely places, far outside yourself. Yet the whole time, this love is but a few inches away from you. It is at the edge of your soul, but you have been blind to its presence."

As you can see, today's soul friend -- influenced, no doubt, by these words -- has a distinctly benevolent quality, a depth and richness and stability that I find very reassuring.

NOTE: All John O'Donohue quotations are from Anam Cara (© John O’Donohue. All rights reserved). To learn more about John O'Donohue, be sure to visit his website: www.johnodonohue.com

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting faces, your soul friends' countenances. They both seem to have a cool, kind of detached, skeptical expression.

I, too, appreciate John O'Donohue's writings and spirit. Good stuff!

drw@bainbridge.net said...

They do, don't they -- perhaps they're annoyed I've ignored them for so long... I'll be curious to see if they warm up.

altar ego said...

Oh, this brings stuff up for me. As a single clergy person until a few years ago there was a great dearth of the kind of love that I needed to survive the kind of ministry that comes with the collar. I loved much of my work, but was so, so hungry for care at a deep level. That long, empty road left a scar that is still tender and still needs TLC. But you have named it here, and I have recognized it, so perhaps I am on the right track toward healing.