Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Users of Sorrow (in my sleep I dreamed this poem) - and - Heavy

Someone I loved once gave me

A box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

That this , too, was a gift.

I am just over the time line in Auburn, Alabama. The sun rises earlier and there is less time of dark, or so it seems. The sky is already light and it’s not yet 6:30 a.m. One student who attends here told me that on campus sometimes his phone picks up Eastern Time, and other times, Central. This is a liminal place where dark and light meet and when the time before merges with the time to come.

Gifts too are indeterminate. Sometimes when a gift is offered to us, we pick it up and it seems heavy, and at other times it appears light. I do not know how to trust that everything that comes our way is a gift. Or how we might know when we should put the gift down and say that we have gotten all we can out of it. When is there too much clutter in our life, does our attention turn to the stuff and not to that which comes our way, or even to the Ultimate Givers themselves?

I for one know that in the dark, heavy sorrow I find the unexpected gift of love and wonder. Yet when it is offered me I would rather say, no thanks, not today. What a world of beauty and belonging I would have missed if I had a choice of life experiences. But perhaps we do have a choice, to keep opening gifts to look for the laughter and joy within and hear love echo back to us from the deep, opening box of possibility.


That time

I thought I could not

Go any closer to grief

Without dying

I went closer,

And I did not die.

Surely God

Had his hand in this,

As well as friends.

Still, I was bent,

And my laughter,

As the poet said,

Was nowhere to be found.

Then say my friend Daniel

(brave even among lions),

“It’s not the weight you carry

But how you carry it-

Books, bricks, grief-

It’s all in the way

You embrace it, balance it, carry it

When you cannot, and would not,

Put it down.”

So I went practicing.

Have you noticed?

Have you heard

The laughter

That comes, now and again,

Out of my startled mouth?

How I linger

To admire, admire, admire

The things of this world

That are kind and maybe

Also troubled-

Roses in the wind,

The sea geese on the steep waves,

A love

To which there is no reply?

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