Sunday, 29 May 2011

Being with Sadness

I went home yesterday to visit my old Grandfather, 92, who now lives in a home, much to his disgust. He was grumpy because he felt he’d been locked in there against his will. He was surrounded by old women, many of them even grumpier, so we went outside for a cup of tea.

It was cold outside and windy. For some reason, we got onto talking about the gloomiest of subjects. We both felt low. We talked about how he missed his daughter, Rowena, who died before I was born. It felt uncomfortable and sad.

It was sad. I felt like crying.

Some years ago I would have taken this discomfort as a sign to run away. I may have cracked a joke, or left a bit earlier, or hurriedly changed subjects.

But this time I sighed and stopped and just sat there. In the middle of the day, sitting with my Grandfather, sharing time, sharing life, a perfect moment. I gave up the struggle, and shared what was.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Naomi Shahib Nye, “Kindness”

2 comments:

Mark Lockyer said...

I like it. I love when people share of themselves. What I'm increasingly noticing is that people who practise ACT are not hesitant in revealing the emotional side to their life. It really is a breath of fresh air and surely a positive way forward.

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