On Joy and Sorrow from The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran
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 holds 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.
Joy and sorrow come to us as we wend our way through life. We run towards joy and away from sorrow, but as Gibran states, they are inseparable. Learning to live a balanced life is the best we can do.
In October, our beloved dog Ruby was released from her struggle with cancer and though it broke our hearts to say goodbye, after eleven and a half years, it was her time. She had been my ‘bubblegum,’ never leaving my side and I mourned her loss acutely. My daily walks without her company were the worst. I would cry nearly every time I went out and told myself I would learn to walk alone. Then one day after five weeks, I realized that I had gone through half my walk before thinking of her. I was recovering my balance.
Another few weeks went by and I realized I wanted no longer to walk alone. I had a hole in my heart that only a dog would fill. The love, affection and companionship of a dog was missing and I wanted it again. As did my family, who felt the loss of Ruby as I did. We have a good home to offer a pet (heaven on earth, really) and the knowledge that thousands of wonderful dogs are euthanized daily because there is no one to adopt them, moved me.
So I began to look at area rescue shelters, many of which save dogs from kill shelters down South, where there are a great many unwanted pets. After a few days, one caught my eye. A lab mix with a good disposition, a little over a year old, pulled from a shelter in South Carolina, stated to get along with pets (we have two cats) and children (we have young neighbors). I sent in the application and set up a meeting time. Well, what was not to love? She was the sweetest dog ever! We adopted ‘Wren’ at the end of December and she has already brought our home so much love and light. And yes, joy.