The Overwhelming Beauty and Sadness of Life
Crosstraining for your emotions.
I cried today.
Two of my dear friends have a child who just turned 24. Her life has been one filled with an incomprehensible number of battles with health challenges.
My friends have been surrounded by people who love and support them. Even so, there is perhaps no one who can grasp even a part of what they have suffered alongside their daughter.
Their daughter’s life is drawing to a close. By the time some of you read this, she may already be gone.
I’ve had the privilege of spending time with my friends in some of their most difficult moments so when I learned the news, my heart swelled with pain for them until it finally broke. Tears that don’t often fall from my eyes ran down my cheeks.
We all experience moments of the terrible feeling of helplessness; knowing that no words or actions can take away the pain.
I can only imagine that to sit and watch the child they’ve cared for her entire life finally be released from her pain must bring a measure of peace and terrible sorrow.
Only the nihilist spends all their time contemplating the truth that life is fleeting, but fleeting it is.
For so many, the progression toward death is slow and filled with pain and anguish. For others, it comes so suddenly.
Soon or late, fast or slow, death is inevitable and rarely unaccompanied by heart-wrenching sorrow for those left behind.
In the moments of my own quiet contemplation today, my thoughts turned to my wife and children. Healthy. Strong. Vibrant.
· · · · · · · · · ·
In an emotional collision I’ve never experienced (or recognized) before, both deep sorrow and extreme gratitude filled my heart and mind. My tears became more profound; more meaningful to me.
Life is full of great inequities. My friends have survived and thrived in more difficulty than scores of people combined will ever know. Their love and willingness to serve others has inspired literally thousands of people. Their daughter has done the same.
And I complain about my taxes.
In a way I don’t fully understand yet, my capacity to love grew today. My love for my friends deepened. My wife and children became more precious to me. My desire to focus more effort on things that really matter increased.
The lessons that come from these experiences are deeply personal, and can’t be taught to us by anyone else. Of necessity, we have to learn them for ourselves. The process can be scary and painful, but is often worth it; stepping through the darkness to find the light.
A parting thought from Khalil Gibran who penned this beautiful statement:
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.