UnknownThe world we live in, Life itself, is full of suffering — and of joy.  ‘Twas ever thus.  There has never been, and likely never will be, a time without egregious events.  How can we hold this?

What’s certain is that if we focus only on the amount, variety, and horrendous ways suffering is inflicted and endured, we can become numb, paralyzed, full of despair, or worse.

One important way to counter the flood of negativity is by being passionate and stubborn in our defense of joy, of the light, of love.  This post is inspired by an article by Elizabeth GilbertHealthy ways to take in Mass Media News (This seemed particularly appropriate given the worldwide flood of refugees, and the prospect of this Super Tuesday…)  I highly recommend the article. It’s sane, balanced, wise.  About nourishing our soul and spirit.images

The article makes reference to a poem by Jack GilbertA Brief for the Defense.  I was struck by many images and evocations… not all of them resonated with me, but many did.  Here it is for your consideration in relation to our theme: being stubborn in our gladness.

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere.  If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else.  With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come. 

Shortly after reading Gilbert’s article and the poem, I came across the display below.  Such a perfect, and breathtaking example of the way nature revels!  Had to share it with you!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.

Share this: