I was in Bloomingdales in Chicago this special morning when I picked up an email on my iPhone as MrsBeautiful shopped.
It was from a stranger
wanting to contact my friend Martin quickly about John O'Donohue.
I forwarded it to him.
I soon flew home from Chicago
and received the message that our friend
John O'Donohue has died.
John was on holiday in France with the family of Kristine,
a wonderful woman he met at the Greenbelt Festival August 2008.
I was there when Kristine and him met.
I snapped a series of pictures
and delighted in that first contact with both of them.
I was shocked.
Poet, priest and philosopher,
John was a one-off, the warmest,
funniest, wisest person you could hope to meet.
His most last book, 'Benedictus’,
was published just before that Christmas.
It is a book of blessings
and this is an extract from one.
'May there be some beautiful surprise
Waiting for you inside death
Something you never knew or felt,
Which with one simple touch
Absolves you of all loneliness and loss,
As you quicken within the embrace
For which your soul was eternally made.
'May your heart be speechless
At the sight of the truth
Of all your belief had hoped,
Your heart breathless
In the light and lightness
Where each and every thing
Is at last its true self
Within that serene belonging
That dwells beside us
On the other side
Of what we see.'
I feel a cheat saying he was a friend.
I guess everyone who met him now calls him 'friend'.
We met a number of times
smoked a cigar together
sipped a pint
talked until late night/early morning.
I drove him around some at the Greenbelt Festival,
I had his umbrella in my car for two years
until we collided again - at Greenbelt.
We laughed and shared
although - the last time we met
didn't go and sit with him
when I last had the chance.
I felt I needed to be with those I was with……
If anyone can be my rep
in that eternal place
I would count on him.
My heart is always with Kristine who he loved
two way love
cut so so short.
We will remember him
and I will on this day forever.
"May you recognise in your life
the presence, power and light of your soul.
May you realise that you are never alone,
that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realise that the shape of your soul is unique,
that you have a special destiny here that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful, good and eternal happening.
May you learn to see your self with the same delight,
pride and expectation with which God sees you in every moment."
in his book 'Anam Cara’