Encouragement for the Journey 22 July 2012

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Encouragement for the Journey 22 July 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

I write this week’s encouragement for the journey aware that in recent months death’s shadow has paid our community more than one visit.

We each respond to death in different ways and it is useless to even compare one response with another. We know as travellers on the human journey that death is a part of life. When a person whom we love dies and we attend their funeral service, all kinds of emotions and thoughts make their presence felt in our awareness. We may also be aware of our mortality and transient nature of our human journey.

You notice I use the words ‘a part of life’, just a part, for we equally know that life is more than grief and suffering and includes laughter, joy and celebration. This is not to discount a person’s death, rather it is to see death as that which is ever present in life, but wait, there is always more. A little ritual I engage in after I have visited a family who are planning a funeral service is to ask myself the question: knowing that I too will die, how, then, will I live? I leave you with these words from John O’Donohue:

For Death

From the moment you were born.

Your death has walked beside you.

Though it seldom shows its face,

You still feel its empty touch

When fear invades your life,

Or what you love is lost

Or inner damage is incurred.


Yet when destiny draws you

Into these spaces of poverty,

And your heart stays generous

Until some door opens into the light,

You are quietly befriending your death;

So that you will have no need to fear

When you time comes to turn and leave.


That the silent presence of your death

Would call your life to attention

Wake you up to how scarce your time is

And to the urgency to become free

And equal to the call of your destiny.


Then you would gather yourself

And decide carefully

How you now can live

The life you would love

To look back on

From your deathbed.


Meanwhile Peace in our dying and in our living – Alf