As my eyes focus into the morning light and my brain checks for aches and pains, the fact that my friend Brian died on December 30 jumps into my awareness. My heart opens to his wife, now widow; his adult children and their mother; all who have known him; the thousands of students who benefited from his sharp wit and generous expertise over many years … and to an empty space within. And immediately below and around that, a deep sense of having loved and been loved by him.
Reaching for the trusty collection of blessings by the Irish poet John O’Donohue, I leaf past “On the loss of a friend” and “On sadness” until I come to his comments on friendship. May they speak to you on this first day of the year 2010 when hopes for things fresh blend with remembrances of things past:
Yeats once said, friendship is the only house we have to offer. Without the blessings of friendship, we could never have become who we are. In the climate of love and understanding that friendship provides, we take root and blossom into full human beings. Our friends are the mirrors where we recognize ourselves, and quite often it is their generosity of spirit that has enabled us to grow and flourish.
source: O’Donohue, J. (2008). To bless the space between us. New York: Doubleday, p. 213. image: Brian Smith, MA, late Professor of Wine Studies & Liberal Arts, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.