Update: There is no reason to be concerned for me. I've had a few ups and downs of late, nothing too serious, but it has me in a reflective mood. I'm just singing the blues...but I'm okay. :-)That's the first line of one of the saddest songs ever written, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams. It's a redneck masterpiece, one of my mother's favorites. It is, to my ear, strangely beautiful and it somehow manages to strike a deep chord that runs through us all. Its simple plaintive cry exquisitely expresses an emotion that defines as well as any other what it feels like to be human. It doesn't always feel that way of course, but it always sometimes does. I mean who gets through this life without ever feeling that bone deep loneliness for which there is no cure?
In this bittersweet life there is always some yin to go with your yang it seems. You can't know love without becoming intimately acquainted with loss. There is no joy without sorrow. No life without death. These things go together like tea and crumpets, or rock and roll.
Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."Sadness and sorrow are unavoidable parts of our lives, universal aspects of our existence. Unavoidably and for whatever it's worth, suffering is a large part of what makes us human.
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.
From Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet
Sometimes I find myself hoping that suffering has meaning, some non-obvious something that makes it okay that we have to endure so much of it, that it is purposeful, that somehow it redeems us or transforms us or makes us whole. Maybe that's just wishful thinking. Maybe it's just unavoidable and that's all. At any rate, I think we have to come to a point where we say, to the extent that it is indeed unavoidable, that it's alright, just part of the deal.
“You’ve got to admit, it’s a hell of a ride...though less suffering would be nice.”