Saturday, February 03, 2007

Joy and Sorrow

My childhood friend's father died today. He'd been sick for a month, but none of us ever expected him to die. He's batttled various health issues for almost 30 years and always came out on top but not this time. When I spoke with my friend this afternoon, she said it was hard on her kids, their 'Popsie' gone. He lived in the same town with them and showered them with love and attention, making his passing even more significant and painful. I was reminded of this passage from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran.

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes you spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous,
look deep into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful
look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth,
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at you board, remember that the other is asleep upon you bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between you sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weight his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

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