Love Letters to Humans (no. 27) — on absence

A beautiful human with whom I had the pleasure of sharing one of my 100 Conversations about Right Relationship mentioned a poem/prayer during our talk. We were talking about grief and death and estrangement… about being in Right Relationship with those who are absent from us. They were kind enough to find the text and share it with me.

I don’t know who else needs to read this right now…

A Blessing for Absences

May you know that absence is alive with hidden presence,
that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.

May the absences in your life grow full of eternal echo.

May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere,
where the presences that have left you dwell.

May you be generous in your embrace of loss.

May the sore well of grief turn into a seamless flow of presence.

May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear from.

May you have the courage to speak for the excluded ones.

May you become the gracious and passionate subject of your own life.

May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle words or false belonging.

May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight are one.

May your longing inhabit its dreams within the Great Belonging.

—John O’Donohue