On Joy and 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.

M. said to me tonight that with every beginning there comes an end and with every end there is the promise of a new beginning. And just as beginnings and ends go hand in hand, there is also the ambiguity of joy and sorrow captured so well in this selection from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet. I can think of no better way to express the mix of feelings I have on this last night in Washington.

Posted from Washington, DC


J said...

Hi, I hope you get this before you go. Best wishes for your new life in Germany. Stay warm, too.


Haddock said...

Have a pleasant & safe journey

christina said...

Bon voyage, Michelle. See you on the other side!

James said...

I look forward to your eloquent posts once you have arrived here in Germany. Take care. I wish you a good flight.

Expat Traveler said...

Hoping for a wonderful trip. Can't wait to hear it from the other side of the pond. :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck my friend. M is exactly right. I know you will be a success at anything you do.