Anam Cara

“This was a wonderful day,” he says, as he leans back into his pillow. “It was like the good old days.”

I stop fussing with the blankets and smile to myself. This is going to be good.

“Good old days?” I ask. “What do you mean the good old days?”

I turn out the light and snuggle up against his eleven-year-old-body.

“Oh, you know, before I wore glasses. And when the meadow was still the meadow. And before Kyle and Nikki moved away. You know what I mean?”

I think about his big blue eyes peering out from behind rims. And about how we used to pick apples in the meadow where a big condominium complex now stands. I think about our old neighbors and how Jeffy and Nikki used to play for hours outside on her swing set.

“I think I do,” I say, then I kiss the top of his head. “I’m glad you had a good day.”

Later, as I fold the clothes (there are always clothes to fold), I am thinking about his definition of a wonderful day.

Enjoying his senses, and the great outdoors. Spending uninterrupted time with a good friend. And being tucked in by mom.

Sounded pretty good to me.

And I began to think what a wonderful day would mean to me.

Seeing? Seeing, yes. Definitely would be beauty involved. Preferably beauty in the great outdoors.

But. A friend? Here is where it gets a little tricky for me. See, to me, wonderful day means alone.

All day long I am fighting noise. Noise outside of me, noise inside of me. To be alone, to have the quiet. Ah, that is wonderful.

And then I remember the Anam Cara.

Anam Cara means soul friend. Anam in Gaelic means soul; cara is the word for friend. I have been reading about the soul friend in John O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.

Such a book makes me realize the poverty of the English language. Ah, but never mind. We are speaking of the soul friend. Of the concept, O’Donohue says:

The anam cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.

And I know who my anam cara is.

O’Donahue knew too. He goes on to say, in this lovely book with lovely words:

The anam cara is God’s gift. Friendship is the nature of God. The Christian concept of god as Trinity is the most sublime articulation of otherness and intimacy, an eternal interflow of friendship…Jesus, as the son of God, is the first Other in the universe; he is the prism of all difference. He is the secret anam cara of every individual. In friendship with him, we enter the tender beauty and affection of the Trinity. In the embrace of this eternal friendship, we dare to be free…

And I realize that wonderful is not being alone so much–but being alone with my Anam Cara–my Jesus.

Yes. That is a wonderful day.

Anam Cara–
soul friend
lover of my
you awaken
the circle
around us
I am
and fire.
night becomes
the womb
you hold me
and day
Christmas morning–
I see
in your mirror
reflection of
your love.
but this
is no
it cleaves
metes out
only justice
Ah, Anam Cara!
Are beauty.
the good ‘ol days
 the good ‘ol days

Cutting down the trees

poem by laura boggess, inspired by the Anam Cara, both the book and the Person 

**all quotes from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom  © John O’Donohue. All rights reserved.

If you are interested in participating in an interesting discussion about the importance of religious freedom, head over to and read my post over there. 


  1. says

    One of my favorite books. You would also like, I’m sure, O’Donohue’s “To Bless the Space Between Us”.

    You have such a sweet son, Laura.

  2. says

    It is so great to see how John’s work continues to weave “words of love . . . an invisible cloak, to mind your life.” I want to support you in sharing that inspiration and love; and I am also responsible for minding the technicalities connected with the preservation of John’s estate and literary legacy.

    John’s family would be very grateful if you would add to your quote a note that gives the title of the poem and of the book from which the poem is quoted, as well as, the copyright attribution ( © John O’Donohue. All rights reserved). It would also be great if you could provide a link to the web site: — so that those who want to know more about John can come to us?

    warmly and with gratitude,

  3. says

    Laura – this takes my breath away. I love words and you use them with such grace and skill. They are beautiful because they come from your heart.
    I feel so much the same way. I admit to feeling ashamed that too often I want to exclude Him from my “aloneness.” How much I miss.
    I must print this one out. It bears reading over and over again.
    Thank you sweet girl.

  4. says


    I feel so honored to have a visit from the one “responsible for minding the technicalities connected with the preservation of John’s estate and literary legacy”! And I am also honored that you would mistake my humble words for those of Mr. O’Donohue.

    The poem is my own, inspired by Mr. O’Donohue’s words in the book that I cite within this post,of course, as well as the beautiful Gaelic concept of the Anam Cara.

    I would be delighted to link to Mr. O’Donohue’s website, as the sharing of his writings and wisdom can only make this world a more beautiful place. I will link in immediately.

    It sounds like some of my readers are already familiar with the gift of Mr. O’Donohue’s words. I am looking forward to reading more of his work myself.

  5. says

    Laura, absolutely beautiful. I will look for this book because what you have shared resonates deep within me.

    I will be back soon…leaving for Haiti early Monday morning. Appreciate your continued prayers.

    Love to you!

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