Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Joy and Sorrow

I found this half-completed blog entry from a few weeks ago - I'd found myself in the throes of the craziness of Wisconsin politics and apparently jotted this down. I can't help but see the relevance to where I am - mentally, emotionally, physically - at this moment. Specifically the Joy and Sorrow part. The Prophet is one of my favorite books, and this is my favorite chapter. I really do believe it.

From 3/15/11
Has anybody else been feeling totally heightened lately? In so many ways. Like, tiny little things make me burst with happiness and joy. The sun was out an extra hour yesterday and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. But the heartbreaking things - ugh, so heartbreaking. Everything is deeper than usual.

Things in Wisconsin have been just that: deeper. In my attempts to explain to non-Wisconsinites what's happening here, I doubt that I've been clearly articulating how intense it's been over the last 30 days. The good and positive things have been amazing, making me laugh hysterically while sitting in my car by myself at a red light. The opposite end of the spectrum has left me broken and weeping at times, feeling helpless and lost. It has all been so huge.

I hate politics. I really do. But when things like this happen, you can't help but be involved. You stop avoiding potentially volatile and confrontational conversations. Your neutrality and evenness shed away as you open your eyes and come alive. There is no more neutral or numb or medium. There is high and low everything, huge and giant everything.

I need to remind myself of the lesson behind the "Joy and Sorrow" chapter of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran: that one's joys can only be as deep as one's sorrows. That one is made from the other. That they are interchangeable.

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 oftentimes 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 hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your 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 your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

-Khalil Gibran


Lauren said...

Excellent post. And I commend you for continuing to ride those waves of extreme emotions - especially when I'm sure at times it could be so much easier to just shut yourself off and become numb. I haven't read The Prophet yet but it is sitting on my night stand waiting to be read (along with a whole other pile of books).

Reem Tara said...

Lauren, thank you so much. I needed to hear that. Re: reading Thr Prophet - just read it a chapter at a time, in any order. It's a beautiful work. Love Joy and Sorrow the most, but Reason and Passion, as well as Clothes, are two other favorites. Oh, and Marriage, although it should have been named the love one. =)