Poor Haiti has been hit hard yet again, crushed by an earthquake, buildings destroyed and many people lost and injured, the survivors simply enduring. All the sorrow we feel for those in Haiti and others caught in such disasters cannot change what has happened. All that is left is to reach out and do what we can to help. And so, however we can, we do.
But then we are left wondering – when there is such sorrow, what becomes of joy? There are no simple answers. Yet I find comfort and hope in the words of Khalil Gibran:
Joy & Sorrow
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.
A long time ago, thinking of water as a symbol of life, I painted a picture of it pouring from bowl to bowl. I will soon paint another picture of that water and those bowls; and this time the water, as it pours, will be full of light and darkness, a truer symbol of the love, sorrow, joy, struggle, peace and pain that, all mixed together, are life.
People of Haiti, our thoughts are with you.