MR. O’DONOHUE: That’s absolutely right because I think if you take time not as calendar product, but as actually the parent or mother of presence, then you see in the world of spirit, time behaves differently. I mean when I used to be a priest it was an amazing thing, you’d see someone who would be dying over a week maybe and had lived maybe a hard life where the world had knuckled into themselves. Where they were hard and tight and unyielding and everything had to air and assuage to their center. And suddenly, then, you’d see that within three or four days, you’d see them loosen and you’d see a kind of buried beauty that they’d never allow themselves to enjoy about themselves surface and bring a radiance and spirit to their face.
Ms. Tippett: I think a lot about how in Western culture, and in the United States culture, really important words get watered down and almost ruined, and yet we still need them. And “love” is one of those words. And “friendship,” I think, may also be a word which we haven’t — we struggle to not let our definition of that become impoverished. And just to bring this to a very practical level, some of the things we wring our hands about in our public life, like the disintegration of marriages, crisis of relationship, and then implications of that, like how do we raise our children to know what commitment is? And I actually think an impoverished sense of love and of friendship complicates that. I’m asking you this as a philosopher and, I think, as a wise person — I mean are we less capable of love and commitment and relationship, in a mature sense, in our time, than previous generations were? Or is this just a human dilemma that has different details in our time?