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For Love in a Time of Conflict

John O’Donohue

When the gentleness between you hardens

And you fall out of your belonging with each other,

May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said, or heard,

And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,

When even the silence has become raw and torn,

May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel

And anger begins to sear the ground between you

,Before this weather of grief invites

The black seed of bitterness to find root,

May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,

To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,

Reach out with sure hands

To take the chalice of your love,

And carry it carefully through the echoless waste

Until this winter pilgrimage leads you

Towards the gateway to spring.

(A colleague shared this poem with me from John Gottman's new book

The Science of Trust and Emotional Attunement (2011))

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