by Wendy Strgar September 13, 2010
My youngest daughter can read me like a book. She knows my sorrow and always wants to fill me up when she sees it in how I stand, or in my eyes. For all my discussion of feeling your feelings and letting them wash over you, I too have my reticence about sorrow. It sometimes feels that the closer I get, the more likely it will swallow me whole. I fear the depth of my sorrow, and have never really learned to befriend it as the constant companion she is.
The sorrow that we don’t give words to weighs in us. The sorrow we won’t give space and attention to stays put until we are ready to honor and respect it. I often forget its gifts; that it opens my heart measure for measure to joy. I forget the tenderness that sorrow bestows on my open heart, which makes me compassionate and able to witness the beautiful fragility in the world, and in all of us.
Pulitzer prize-winning author Eudora Welty reminds me, “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” Recognizing this truth, that sorrow and joy are shadows of each other is a good place to start. I want to revel in the piles of sorrow that have been too frightening to approach. I want to make rituals to celebrate it. I want to dive into the sorrow and come out soaking wet from the tears that I never let fall so I can finally let it go.
I know that the sorrow that has been locked in me for so long is a storehouse for the joy I have longed to experience, as well. I am ready to crack it open and I know that I will see that it is not dark, but precious, tender vibrations that are proof that I am alive and loved.
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