"Perhaps one of the surprises of death will be a retrospective view of the lives we lived here and to see how our friends among the dead clothed us in weave after weave of blessing." John O'Donohue
2007 brought one of the busiest summers for me, I was working on some really cool projects, London friendships and work-relationships were blooming, it was a never-ending cornucopia of good things.
A friend from Belfast and I were working on a self-produced documentary. It had a lot of promise, my friend was an author and speaker, in the middle of leaving his Christian fundamentalism and exploring how different faiths viewed life's deeper questions.
We were interviewing the coolest people, we even spent an afternoon talking with the UK's Barefoot Doctor, who is sort of like the Taoist version of Oprah's Dr. Oz.
John O'Donohue, though, was going to be the centerpiece interview for the film. A poet, mystic, author, speaker, priest, guru, I had discovered his book on Celtic Blessings, and soul-friendships.
It just so happened that my friend was good friends with John. I could not wait to fly to Belfast and meet him.
The morning of the flight, though, came several emergencies-- one a health crisis with a friend. The other, a client showed up at the office needing major changes on a project that was overdue.
I remember standing there, client-in-office, thinking, I could still make the flight, I could sneak out, I don't need a suitcase, I don't need the job, I could get to Gatwick without change of clothes.
But I caved to the pressure. I missed my flight.
We re-scheduled the interview for the next month, and that got pushed to the autumn, then the whole film got pushed back.
And then, John O'Donohue died.
There's not a time when I pick up one his books or see a post that contains a quote from him, that I don't have the a physical twinge of regret about not getting onto that plane.
Did the client really matter that much? The films got done.
The health crisis of my friend? It went away fairly quickly.
But today, I notice that if I have an interview scheduled that I know has the feel of destiny, I will go to super-human lengths to get that interview.
And over the years, I have delved into John's work in a way that I may not have had he not passed. His books have followed me through dark days. The simple act of lighting a fireplace, walking on a beach, or doing brunch with friends are cosmic blessings thanks to John's work. I feel close to the guy, as if he's become a guide to me.