Your gift

Some of the deepest longing in you is the voice of your gift. … The only way to honour the unmerited presence of the gift in your life is to attend to the gift; this is also a most difficult path to walk. … The gift alone knows where its path leads. It calls you to courage and humility. If you hear its voice in your heart, you simply have to follow it. … People who truly follow their gift find that it can often strip their lives and yet invest them with a sense of enrichment and fulfilment that nothing else could bring.

John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

This whole passage is stimulating and deeply insightful, but I was most struck by the concept of the gift stripping our lives if we follow it. Following one’s gift might involve being an uncompromising, prophetic voice in an environment where such a voice is not welcome – which is probably true for most environments. Martin Luther King Jr comes to mind, whose gift stripped his life in that it led to fierce, violent, and in his case ultimately deadly opposition.

I suppose it can be a deep honour for one’s life to be stripped, an honour that those who respond to someone’s exercise of their gift in power-abusing, coercive, violent ways unwittingly and ironically award them.

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