Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Between Gratitude and Despair!

When the road is long, and the way is fraught with hardship, do we remember gratitude?

It is difficult when hardship, loss and misery make us despair. Despair is a shocking feeling. It steals all light. It permeates the muscles of the face. It seizes the neck in a gripping vice. It makes the stomach sick, filling it with the sourness of no hope. Behind our eyes, we are sick with sorrow. We want to rub the skin off our faces, vomit the poisoned world, run, scream, escape, disappear into no-thing.

The precious fades, as though it never was. Despair makes the precious ridiculous. Despair crushes innocence. Despair is the saddest of human things.

What can possibly make us open once more to possibility?

Once the shock of despair has been breathed into every pore and has permeated all organs, it stops attacking. It settles, calms, has had its way, has poisoned the soul. Hopefully, instead of vomiting, we have cried the bitter sadness out of us. Hopefully, we are spent, bitterness spewed. In this twilight transition between dark and dawn, there is no more resistance  We are alone, without power, ravaged, reduced.

When all is lost, the heart, eternal flower that it is, begins a little flutter. Memories of the good and the beautiful filter through and bestow on the heart those tiny things for which we are grateful. Those tiny things keep the magic in the world alive. They may not seem like much in the scheme of things. They may be hard to acknowledge, as they do not solve problems. But they are sparkles of beauty powerful enough to light the dawn of a new day.

What sparkles of gratitude open your heart?

About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

10 comments on “Between Gratitude and Despair!

  1. Kitt Crescendo
    November 13, 2012

    Sometimes it’s as simple as a flower in bloom or a hug from a friend. Other times it’s that song on the radio that speaks to me or makes me dance….gratitude can shine out from almost any crack if we let it. Life is too short to spend so much time and energy being angry and bitter. Someone once said they wanted not only to live the length of their life, but also the breadth. I’m with them. 🙂


  2. Walking with Beverley
    November 13, 2012

    This was an imperative blog today Niamh. I actually was writing about gratitude so to see your article made my heart sing.
    Gratitude an amazing antidote.
    Sometimes [for me] it just how the sun rays squeeze through the clouds and make its own fireworks.
    I decided to do 30 days of thankfulness and it was a good decesion; it makes my heart swell with joy.
    Thanks Niamh


    • ontheplumtree
      November 13, 2012

      Thank you, Beverley. I appreciate your comments. 30 days of thankfulness is a wonderful thing to do.


  3. Patricia Tilton
    November 13, 2012

    Powerful post Niamh! I think gratitude is the best pathway out of despair. I always try to find a few things to be grateful for daily. Focusing on helping someone else is also uplifting.


  4. the secret keeper
    November 13, 2012

    Gratitude is remembering someone cares. They write a poem too make you smile. Send you a note that reminds you they love you. Connect with you in a surprise visit that lets you know they are thinking of you. A loving kitten jumping into your lap in the middle of the night and purring as you hold them and snuggling in really close, just wanting to be near you. Knowing that someone cares enough to support your efforts in what you are doing in your life, that they remind you all the time that you are important to them and what you do is important and creative and meaningful. Finding the beauty in nature when looking at the intensity of a flower that is freshly bloomed and its sensual nature shows through in it’s divinity. A sky whose sunset over the water reflects the hues of colour that make you go ah! To hug someone you love and feel their hug back even if they are more than a thousand miles away. That someone lets you love them and they remind you that you are loved too. Waking up into a new day and finding your life is still there. Being surprised by finding newness in every minute you are alive. Love. That there is Love and you feel it and can give it away and there is a lot more still to give. Being loved and how that is surprising each time you feel it. Finding a friend who you can care about and they let you. Discovering a new idea, a new feeling, a new song, Caring about someone so much that they make you tear up and make you smile and make you feel you want to wish that they are given everything in their life that they want and the wish comes true. Being able to see, hear, taste, touch, feel, think. Being able to write. Being able to remember the good memories and to have good memories to remember. Time. Moments so intense that your soul is enlivened by them. Having a friend write a post that makes you feel and think all these wonderful thoughts and feelings. Thank you Niamh. What a wonderful post to take us through what it feels life to be in despair and guiding us through to the other side into feeling gratitude. This makes me feel love most of all that someone can touch you inside with such depth of feeling that it holds you-like floating on a cloud and fills you with warmth. In Gratitude Niamh. Another meaningful post. a.l. Jennifer


  5. patriciasands
    November 17, 2012

    When grief was attempting to wrestle me to the depths of despair … and winning … there was that flutter, kept pulsing with the help of dear friends, until those sparkles you mention slowly began to light the way. Never again.


    • ontheplumtree
      November 17, 2012

      Thank you, Patricia. It is a terrible place to be, and we must pay attention to those tiny sparkles of hope that seem so inconsequential, but which, when listened to, light the way ahead.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: