Monday, August 24, 2009

Joy and Sorrow

Last night, I went looking for my next book to read. I pulled open the drawer in my bedside table and looked at a stack of books I had put there. They were on my "Next To Read" list.

I saw The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and thought to myself, "Oh. I've been meaning to read that."

I lay down in bed, and held the book. I noticed there was a piece of paper stuck inside it. I opened the book and then opened the piece of paper. My breath caught in my throat when I realized what it was.

On a piece of yellow paper were the notes I jotted after my last true conversation with Dad. Here's what I wrote:
~fading, slipping away
~told him to let go when time
~asked if funeral plans, burial
~I love you, miss you, thank you
~see Mom, Jackson, ask God your questions
~blooming flowers
~not afraid
~promised to stay to end, take care of Maureen
~come back to me if you can

On the other side of the paper is a list of visitors he had those last few days of his life. I was dumbfounded by this scrap of paper, and then I looked at the book, and saw the page these notes were marking. That was enough to make me whimper out loud. The paper was marking the passage in The Prophet that is "...of Joy and Sorrow." Have you ever read this?

"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.
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.”


Gina said...

Wow. That's all kinds of deep. Kinda fits with my post today.

Gretchen said...

I believe things like that happen for a reason. Probably his way of letting you know he loves you. :)


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