The will of color loves how light spreads
Through its diffusions, making textures subtle,
Clothing a landscape in concealment
For color to keep its mysteries
Hidden from the unready eye.
But the light that comes after rain
Is always fierce and clear,
And illuminates the face of everything
Through the transparency of rain.
Despite the initial darkening
This is the light that failure casts.
Beholden no more to the promise
Of what dream and work would bring.
It shows where roots have withered
And where the source has gone dry.
The light of failure has no mercy
On the affections of the heart;
It emerges from beyond the personal
A wiry, forthright light that likes to see crevices
Open in the shell of a controlled life.
Though cruel now, it serves a deeper kindness,
Wise to the larger call of growth.
It invites us to humility
And the painstaking work of acceptance.
So that one day we may look back
In recognition and appreciation
At the disappointment we now endure.
~ John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us: For Failure