On the drive in to work yesterday I listened to On Being and Krista Tippet’s interview with John O’Donohue. When O’Donohue began to read his poem “Beannacht” (the Gaelic word for blessing) …
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you. …
I fell apart. O’Donahue’s poetic blessing suddenly felt very personal. And as I welcomed that blessing and claimed it for my own, the floodgates of sorrow opened up and threatened to push me off the road and into wide field beside me.
I have written and rewritten this post three times now. My first draft told the story behind my sorrow. The second draft hinted strongly at it, and the third draft would have just nudged you in the right direction. But I finally decided that it isn’t my story to tell.
I have been chewing on this issue for more than a month. “O God make speed to save us, O Lord make haste to help us” is my first prayer in the morning, my last prayer at night, and a constant companion during the day. Every day I have asked myself “Where did I fail?” and “Where did he or she fail?” and “How can we fix this?” I have come up with nothing but continued anger and heartbreaking sorrow for the situation.
But this morning my mind took a slightly different track than it has before. I asked a more collective, community-minded question: “Where did WE fail?”
And the answer was immediate. We failed to love. We failed to love God and we failed to love each other. We failed to love each other more than we loved our own egos. And we are continuing to fail to love.
Love is the solution. We can read and study and apply all sorts of helpful programs and plans, but if we don’t love each other we are lost.
We have to remember that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And what is the main thing?
“‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”