Nothing compares…


Let the silent tears flow

And when your eyes clear

Perhaps you will glimpse

How your eternal child

Has become the unseen angel

Who parents your heart

And persuades the moon

To send new gifts ashore.

—John O’Donohue

YOU DESERVE BETTER, exploring mental health, body image, and how to be true to yourself, as we all deserve to be the happiest version of ourselves.

Nothing compares to the terrible news of an innocent child being murdered. It cuts across everything we are doing or thinking. It has a chilling ring to it. We are stopped in our tracks. Everything else becomes unimportant. As I compose this post, feelings of helplessness howl around my inner landscape like a cold, bitter March wind. Their voiceless sounds leave me empty and frozen. With silent tears, my heart aches for these young souls. In our memories, we each have a shared lived experience, the vulnerability of a small child.

Why, oh why, when we are created to ‘love one another,’ (1 John 4:7) do we fear, hate, persecute, wound and kill others? Why is there so much unconscious denial of violence? Why do we deliberately inflict so much pain and suffering?

From my earliest childhood memory at the age of 3, I witnessed and experienced violence in different shapes and sizes—physical, emotional, psychological and sexual. There were times when I thought I was going to die. I often wonder how I managed to escape and avoid further harm—not ‘why me?’ but ‘why not me?’ The answer is a mystery.

What I know is that the unconditional kindness and love of my mat carriers have enabled me to survive, heal, and in some cases forgive. Mat carriers is a term I have created based on the New Testament story of the paralysed man whose friends lowered him through the roof to hear Jesus speak (Healing the paralytic at Capernaum is one of the miracles Jesus performed in the Gospels in Matthew (9:1–8), Mark (2:1–12), and Luke (5:17–26).

It tells how others can carry us to Jesus when we are too sick and weak to help ourselves. Through Jesus, we find healing and hope when life seems desolate. When I reflect on how I survived a childhood of severe neglect and abuse, this story explains how the love of others has carried me, helping me to find the courage and hope to keep going and the belief that life can get better. I am moved by the perseverance, ingenuity and faith of the man’s friends.

And I saw the river

over which every soul must pass

to reach the kingdom of heaven

and the name of that river was suffering:

and I saw a boat that carries souls across the river

and the name of that boat was


—St John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle

Like the Good Samaritan caring for the traveller who’d been stripped, beaten and left half-dead at the side of the road, let us carry, care, and love one another regardless of colour, creed, religion, age, race, gender, status and any other discriminatory stereotypes and prejudices we may harbour. The human soul longs for beauty, compassion, kindness, and love. Awaken your spirit to this plea and create a new rhythm, one which senses a world waiting for healing and love.

May your heart long for the joy of providing selfless acts of love. May these bring deeper freedom and harmony between the shoreline of your heart and the ocean of your precious life.

Above all else, begin with a gentle kindness and love for your beautiful soul.

I leave you this exquisite piece of music for quiet reflection, Allegri’s ‘Misere Mei Deus’ sung by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge’

Written by Mary Anne Willow, author of The Grace of a Nightingale. The author originally published this article on her website: 

Author: arrowgatepublishing

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