Monday, January 30, 2012

love sorrow

The times are hard, they always say. The days are dark and bleak. And the world greets us every day broken and splintered. And one by one, the grievances accumulate. The sharp edges of shattered ideals and wishes. The realization that the love lost is never coming back. The grey skies that wake you in the morning instead of your faithful sun. The thought that your efforts were futile. The pain of knowing your feelings meant nothing. The loneliness of being left behind or forgotten. The weight of your chosen path. The confusion at why you are where you are and not somewhere better.

And the worst of it all is that the desire to make something of it has left with your optimism. The desire to use the tears to water and heal the dry ground. To use the darkness as a much needed prayer closet. To continue the momentum of tearing down the much-tended-to dreams you once had so something bigger and better can be built. How does one believe in a God that only means good for the world when good has yet to find you? And how do you find that good when the bad walls up so strongly around you?

But when I look through the backpack of my past and I see the tear-stained pages and the smeared words, I realize so much more than the fact that I made it through. I realize that each moment of despondency was only one of the many dots that form a connected line to get me here. And here is also just another dot.

We know that a person can all too easily become so absorbed with an end goal that the present is all too forgotten. And so our teachers and self-help books counter with the urge to live in the present and enjoy the moment. But just like all the other pieces of life advice, this one too becomes a pendulum. It is all about the journey, they say.

No it is not. Didn't your teacher tell you to NEVER use universals? To imply that ALL meaning is in the travel alone will also teach that the destination is either dramatically lessened in importance or completely erased of it. My journey is important, but it is still a journey, meaning that there is still a goal, and I cannot lose my concern for it.

Although, I will do my best to revel in my circumstances. That's all I can do. And my bad days cannot be excluded from that. I will gently tend to what I've been placed with, for whatever my lot, I have been entrusted to care for it, and care for it, I will.

Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been
given. Brush her hair, help her
into her little coat, hold her hand,
especially when crossing a street. For, think,
what if you should lose her? Then you would be
sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness
would be yours. Take care, touch
her forehead that she feel herself not so
utterly alone. And smile, that she does not
altogether forget the world before the lesson.
Have patience in abundance. And do not
ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment
by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,
abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.
And amazing things can happen. And you may see,
as the two of you go
walking together in the morning light, how
little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;
she begins to grow.
-Mary Oliver, Red Bird