Daily Reading for December 16 • Ralph Adams Cram, 1942, and Richard Upjohn, 1878, Architects, and John LaFarge, Artist, 1910

Someone asked me recently: what is it that haunts you? I said, “I can tell you exactly; it is the sense of time slipping through my fingers like fine sand. And there is nothing I can do to slow it.” One of the Psalms prays: “O Lord, help me to see the shortness of life that I may gain wisdom of heart.” As we get older, time seems to speed up. The sense of transience haunts nearly every heart. You feel that you could suddenly arrive at your last day incredulous that that was it; it was all over.

From time immemorial it has been one of the deepest longings of the human heart to strain against the erosion of one’s life, to find a way of living and being that manages to find some stable ground within time, a place from where something eternal can be harvested from our disappearance. This is what all art strives for: the creation of a living permanence. It is what we are secretly doing when we become parents: endeavoring to maintain our continuity beyond our own ending. The harvesting of transience is what we also are attempting in choosing the form of life we live. When we arrive on earth, we are provided with no map for our life journey. Only gradually, as our identity forms and we get an inkling of who we are, do possibilities begin to emerge that call us. . . .

It is such a relief and joy to find the calling that expresses and incarnates your spirit. When you find that you are doing what you love, what you were brought here to do, it makes for a rich and contented life. You have come into rhythm with your longing. Your work and action emerge naturally; you don’t have to force yourself. Your energy is immediate. Your passion is clear and creative. A new calling can open the door into the house of vision and belonging. You feel at home in your life, heart and hearth at one.

From To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue (New York: Doubleday, 2008).

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