I am struck this morning about the gifts of Celtic Christianity which are continuing to mean so much to me. As the New Year is just beginning I have recently lost a treasured friend to cancer. She had known for quite some time that she was dying. As she reflected on her life over the final several months she would talk to me about her life as, difficult but sprinkled with many gifts. Topping the list of those gifts was her family, most especially her husband. She spoke of his abiding love and consistent care. As the months passed she would repeatedly speak about the importance of being known – intimately. This was one of the meaningful treasures in her life…being known –intimately.
I have been privileged to walk with several people who knew they were dying. I have such a respect for all who work in hospice. This particular walking through these last months was profound because of both the broad and deep conversations about her life. All the experiences which helped form her, her siblings, parents, children, loss, joy, discoveries, laughter and tears. In this mix called life we always found our way into God, heaven and hope. She was a believer in the goodness of God for her and all people. At the end of her struggle, her face had a glow about it. She was a beautiful person to know.
In the Celtic spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body. Some would call it an aura. When we connect with another person in an open and trusting way, the two souls begin to grow together…to know one another-intimately. When this relationship forms over time, it is said you have found your Anam Cara or Soul Friend. There is deep acceptance and appreciation of the spiritual journey. Perhaps it is here in this kind of non-judgmental embrace where we can awaken to our own goodness and the presence of others. As John O’Donohue says, “When you are blessed with an Anam Cara, the Irish believe, that you have arrived at the most sacred place: home.”
As the winter beckons us all to slow down, reflect, and allow the important questions to simmer, take a moment to ponder the gift and perhaps your matching need for a soul friend of your own. Let us all open our hearts to the yearning to be known-intimately.
A blessed season of Incarnation to you all!
Scott Jenkins, Creative Director for Celtic way