“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.”
Yesterday, I was getting ready for a walk that would take me on a 25-minute loop that winds me between the creek and the field of corn, parallel to the woods and then out into the open grass of a makeshift runway. I expected to be walking by myself, but to my delight, my eldest daughter Caroline said she would like to join me.
As we stepped outside, we found Sabrina, Caroline’s younger sister, out by the barn. A flock of chickens was zig- zagging in her wake, as she threw pieces of corn from the cob over her shoulder. We shouted for her to join us. Caroline and I started walking, looking back to see if she was trailing us, but she was hidden by the barn. Then, out of nowhere, she darted past us gaining a head start.
We started to climb the small hill that would soon break way to our familiar view from the south, of the bubbling creek winding its way to a place out of view. Somewhere in time with those steps, my 13-year-old daughter Caroline reached over and placed her hand in mine. I immediately felt the warmth of joy and gratitude wash through me, yet there in my heart, I felt the hollow voice of sadness. In that moment, I found myself thinking about how joy is so closely related to sorrow; twisted in a relentless embrace. It is the duality of the beauty of the present moment and the grief that quietly waits for each moment to end, like waiting for my hand to fall to my side and Caroline’s to hers.
Author Kahlil Gibran reminds me that our human experiences are not so unique. He was writing about joy and sorrow’s entangled love affair back in the 1920’s. What is unique though, are our hearts and the unique stories that are written on them each time we let someone, something, or some purpose fill us with love.