Hardwired For Joy

Joy and sorrow are inseparable … together they come and when one sits alone with you … remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Kahlil Gibran

No one warns you about the gut punch
of returning your dead mother’s half-finished library books.
Biographies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson.
The start of a new project she had every intention of finishing.

Or about the phone call from the pharmacy tech
wanting to know which supplies need replenishing.
The way she will apologize profusely for not knowing your son has died,
as you sob and repeat the only words that will come –
It’s not your fault .. You didn’t know ..

Nothing is a given. Nothing is guaranteed.
But we forget until the worst happens,
only then remembering just how fragile our lives are.
How quickly they can be upended, shattered by forces outside of our control.

If it’s true that our lives are made of paper walls,
as Kate Bowler says,
our grief is made of stone.
Tall and impenetrable with only a few chinks to let the light it.

Cowed by despair, trapped in the dark,
we navigate the world alone,
craving the isolation to lick our wounds,
desperate for comfort and consolation at the same time.

Few will figure out how to scale the wall,
climb down in the gloom,
sit with us as we howl and rage
and demand to know why.

These light bearers hold our hands, look in our eyes,
wrap us tightly in their love.
When we’re ready, they help us scale the sides
of the wall that only we can climb.

This rock bottom place is not your permanent home.
In time, the wonder of the world will call you back to life.
But desolation leaves its mark, breaking you apart,
reminding you why kindness matters most of all.

As you stand on the cap of the wall,
let your stubborn hope and wild heart
and whatever shimmering starlight has lured you this far
carry you down the side of your shadowy enclosure.

We are held by love, the way
the silver moon is embraced by the midnight blue sky.
We are built for joy and drawn to the light.
Wired for survival, determine to live on.

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