“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.”
― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
In a strange way this quote doesn't relate directly to the threat of death and sorrow, but indirectly it has very much to do with it. It makes me feel, as I read it, that Soul exists - that I am Soul. Not just as a concept or metaphor, but something real, yet ... undefinable. And that is the power of all of John O'Donohue's writ
I won't try platitudes. I'll just be. Here.
And wait. In the fire.
And also remind you gently that we are waiting for it to burn out.
Because it can.
It might leave embers forever. It should.
But it can burn out.
It's only the wait that is horrible. And should not be done alone.
"She didn't try to repair it. She didn't even pretend she could. She knew that even if she had been able to communicate - through angels - or whatever with her sister in the other dimension, the sister would be lost, disconnected, from her life. Always. It would at the very least be like having a sister living across the Atlantic. You could only Skype, but never visit. She was gone. And in her place was the doubt about where she had gone. If anywhere. If there was anything left but the ghostly space in the heart. But the space could be owned. If she made the choice. It could be inhabited. So the girl knew the only way to live with it was to carry it with her: The space."
So how do you ultimately endure devastating loss. By adopting a religion? I don't think that is enough. I think the ultimate key is realizing you have to endure. And find the good and the beautiful in life and truly appreciate it - in spite. Otherwise all else becomes meaningless.
I was thinking there should be a book for children. About near-death experiences. Maybe this one will get read and taken to heart by many adults as well, who manage to ignore that such hope exists like it was an ingrained habit.
If the time is right, then the experience of sorrow and grief can be used to turn our relative helplessness in the face of death and dying and pain and loss around. We can use the experience do some good elsewhere, whatever elsewhere is.