Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Welsh have a word for it: HIRAETH

St. David's Cathedral, Wales.

"Hiraeth, is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation. . It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past." (from Wikipedia)

The word is best known to English speakers from the song "We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides"

I am not Welsh but I had my own day of Hiraeth last week.  It was not a day of sadness, or melancholy, or depression.    

It was a day of longing/yearning for what might have been, and what could yet be.

Longing/yearning that I had not covered my need for, and fear of  intimacy (in its broadest sense) by being a busy Priest - trying to find fulfillment in work rather than in relationships.

Longing/yearning  that I could undo the errors of my past, those times when I used or manipulated other people for the sake of my own ill-formed and sinful  ego.  I have sometimes been a very difficult and self-willed man,.

Longing/yearning (and here speaks one who is about to celebrate his 72nd birthday) that in my waning years I will be delivered from aloneness and loneliness.

Longing/yearning that in the remaining years alloted to me, I might be graced with the gift of a partner (not necessarily a lover) who will make fun of my foibles and quirks;  who will listen to my babbling and tease me out of my nonsense; who will "be there for me" -  and one for whom I can in turn "be there".

My hiraeth, wistfulness, longing for my  future is perhaps best expressed in this poem (often incorrectly attributed to George Elliot)

Oh, the comfort—

The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words—but pouring them
All right out—just as they are—
Chaff and grain together—
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them—
Keep what is worth keeping—
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.


P.S.  I am NOT in a crisis, nor do I seek for advice!  I ask you to simply listen.



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