When the light around lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world.

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone,
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes,
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!

                                    John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue says it best. What schools my eyes today is the innate resilience of my body that has been lurking under chronic pain for so long. I am slowly healing. Through this healing time, I am in less and less nerve pain, and the pain from the surgery itself is not hard to handle. Connecting nerves to muscles is an ongoing lesson plan. With the help of a wonderful back brace and my old left foot/ankle orthotic from when my MS was much worse, I am walking longer and farther every day. I must be very careful because sudden nerve spasms can fell me if I am not holding on carefully to my rollator. I cannot twist around my low back and can lean forward only with great care. Otherwise I am becoming more self-sufficient and expect I will be able to leave the rehab area of the Care Center and return to my own room next Thursday. I look forward to having my own space and no longer having to be checked for levels of various body functions at all times of the day as is necessary for skilled nursing care.

To be on a healing path with the obstacles removed and my spine revamped is a true joy. Boredom, fatigue, and irritation are small passing squalls that do not temper the underlying momentum of healing that my beleaguered body has shown during my days here. I know I will be stronger after I recover, and I will return to my life with renewed gratitude.

“A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!”

6 thoughts on ““Gather all the Kindling”

  1. Thank you Judi for the update and for all the wise thoughts from your experiences. Much love and continued ease to you, Elaine


  2. Hi … I don’t yet have a clear sobriquet for such a woman as you are. I’m working on it. I’ve been away teaching [and then catching up when I got home] so just catching up on your last 3 offering and the journey that they bring home to me. Still pulling for the first word of you jumping [literally] for joy in not too distant future. That kid will insist on it some day and you will be ready. Love you and …. follow the path you have chosen all the way to the so called ‘bottom’ and back up again in a new way.


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