I'm currently reading The Prophet by Gibran Khalil Gibran. On the day that Almustafa, the chosen and beloved, is leaving the city of Orphalese its people come to ask the prophet their questions and to gain from his wisdom. This book is not an easy read and I have to admit that I may read the same chapter five times getting something different every time.
The chapter where a woman asks the prophet to speak to them of Joy and Sorrow is one of those that I have read numerous times. I’ve included only a few lines of what the prophet answers:
"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 holds 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.”
I’ve thought about this a lot since I read it. I have to say from my own experience that I truly have never appreciated life or experienced joy more deeply than I have since losing Isabella last summer. For those who don’t know, I had a 20 week pregnancy loss of a baby girl during which I almost lost my life as well. It’s very humbling to face your own mortality and to realize that it could all end at any moment. Although the experience of losing a child at 20 weeks in the womb was very sorrowful for me, I have to say that it is because of that I appreciate the everyday with the two fantastic boys that I do have. My friend phrased it perfectly when she said “I doubt we could know the joy of life without the tough moments.”
I jokingly say that when I get to heaven I’m going to swat Isabella’s little butt and put her in time out for all the aggravation that she’s given her family. On the other hand, I will definitely say thank you to her. Thank you for helping me to understand what’s important in life. I color with the kids when we go to restaurants, I dance with my husband every time he asks me to, I eat the piece of cake at a birthday party without worrying about the side-effects it’ll have on my hips, I hang out with my friends and listen to them without worrying about having to run errands … I am so much more present and I do have to give credit to a little girl whose journey was 20 weeks in the womb for helping me sort all that out.
I admire those who live their life to its fullest without experiencing sorrow but I do know that for some it’s the sorrow that actually gives life its richness.
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Laughing with the little boys who are outside playing baseball!