FOR A NURSE
Your mind knows the world of illness, the fright that invades a person
arriving in and out of the world, distraught and grieved by illness.
how it can strip a life of its joy, dim the light of the heart
put shock in the eyes.
You see worlds breaking at the onset of illness: families at bedsides distraught
that their mothers name has come up in the secret lottery of misfortune
that had always chosen someone else.
you watch their helpless love that would exchange places with her.
The veil of skin opened, the search through the bodys night
to remove tissue, war-torn with cancer.
Young lives that should be out in the sun enjoying life with wild hearts,
come in here lamed by accident and the lucky ones who leave,
already old and in captive posture.
The elderly, who should be prepared, but are frightened and unsure.
you understand no one can learn beforehand and elegant or easy way to die.
In this fragile frontier-place, your kindness becomes a light that consoles the brokenhearted,
awakens within desperate storms that oasis of serenity that calls
the spirit to rise from beneath the weight of pain, to create a new space in the persons mind
where they gain distance from their suffering and begin to see the invitation
to integrate and transform it.
May you embrace the beauty in what you do and how you stand like a secret angel
between the bleak despair of illness and the unquenchable light of spirit
that can turn the darkest destiny toward dawn.
May you never doubt the gifts you bring rather, learn from these frontiers
wisdom for your own heart may you come to inherit the blessings of your kindness
and never be without care and love when winter enters you own life.
by John O'Donohue