Then a woman said,’Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.’ And he answered: 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 hold 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. ” Kahlil Gibran
Learn to let go of things in life, even the things you love.
My first impression to that statement is fear and refusal. It doesn’t make any sense. At least, it doesn’t feel like a natural thing to do, as if you almost have to learn the skill. We’re even encouraged in a way, to hold onto the things we have, and that shows me how backwards things are. Material things say nothing about a person. I could be brilliant and poor as a peasant (Mozart for example, didn’t know how to handle his money).
The whole concept of letting go, in fact, is scary. It is to me, at least. When you work hard for something, or you rely on something for support or comfort, you ordinarily wouldn’t want to get rid of it quickly. When that something goes away, you have to break out of your routine
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Many things have happened these past few weeks. My mind is in such a divided state, so please excuse me if this post is a bit scattered. Where to begin….hmmm…ok so about 2 weeks ago my mom was admitted to the hospital due to chest pains. Thankfully her heart is healthy and all her tests were negative. The cause of her pain was low potassium,magnesium and stress. So she was put on bed rest for a few days. During her hospitalization so many things occured to me. So here’s the very sad truths I experienced.
While in the emergency room, there was this older gentleman and his wife. Even though they came by ambulance, they somehow ended up sitting in the waiting room. He had an I.V. in his arm and his line didn’t look proper. You could see blood traveling up the line instead of the I.V. fluid traveling downward. So needless to say I knew it was going to be a long night. So as I sat there with my mom and Matt I pondered as to what was wrong with this man. He was slouched over in pain and his poor wife eyes were filled with tears. I was thinking to myself what can I do to help. It’s obvious this hospital isn’t able to accomodate him or anyone else at this time. I felt the deepest sorrow and sadness as I looked around. No smiling faces, only worry in most people eyes. After sitting there for 6 hours they finally call my mom back. So as we’re sitting in the hallway, a nurse comes over apologizing saying how swamped they are and that all the rooms are full, so they’re now putting people in beds in the hallway areas. During this same time Matt texts me and says the old man has passed out and is now purple. The ER staff rush out and bring him back. They take a patient out of his room and leave him in the hall way while they desperately try to recesitate the man. I hear different codes called and from my personal experience as a sleep technician for SIDS babies I know things are very bad. I see the elderly lady crying and screaming in the hallway, the situation seems hopeless. My mom and I sat there while they literally spent an hour doing CPR. At this time I’m thinking even if he pulls through he will be so broken up and injured he may wish he was dead. Ok, now let me rewind a bit, the man came in with right upper quadrant pain, nausea and vomitting, so most would say gallbladder. So how does someone go from a possible ruptured gallbladder to broken ribs, crushed diaphram, internal bleeding,seizures, and etc. Things were so bad that the EMS was dropping off patients and then switching off with the nursing staff to render CPR. The hallways were filled with frantic people and lots of tears. However, there was one nurse in particular who said” He’s pretty much dead, they should just give up”. Her comments were very eye opening, sad and distasteful. At this point HIPAA, was thrown completely out the window. All this time I was thinking to myself, if I were in that position what would I do. I’ve only been truly deathly ill once and that was due to an allergic reaction to Pizza Hut’s marinara sauce. I think it was contaminated with shellfish somehow. I’m deathly allergic to shellfish. Needless to say I survived. Anyways, that whole experience it really had a huge impact on me. I felt so much sorrow, worry, grief and stress. The man survived. He was life flighted to Hermann Memorial, and they were able to stabilize him. He’s still in the hospital though and will be for quite sometime. After this whole experience I spiraled into a bit of depression, but why? I’ve worked in the medical field for awhile and in various positions, so this shouldn’t have troubled me so deeply, but it did. It took me back to a resident that used to live at a nursing center I worked at. I saw him go from being a healthy 60 yr old to death in a 2 week period. I remember sitting beside his bed singing and praying for him. I remember the moment he died. He was so alone, no family, no friends…just alone. The day he died I remember thinking what a sad way to die. Just he and I, a complete stranger. He didn’t even know my name. I wasn’t assigned to his area. I just happened to hear the gossip about a very sick resident whom even doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him. He had only 1 mysterious vistor since he’d been there. After that visit he began to sick. There were nurses speaking of magic, poisoning and all types of things. So my curiousity won. So after my shift every evening I’d sit in his room and sing to him. He only opened his eyes once and that was the moment he died. He looked right at me. I held his hand and sat there crying. After that day, I rarily visited with residents. I used to give out books, snacks and little things I seen at the store to them, because if I could simply make someone smile, it somehow made it all better. After sometime went by I became ill and resigned. I’m sure it was a combination of the sadness I felt each day and all of the hopelessness.
Now, that I look back on this past experience I wonder what the purpose of life is yet again. It’s so fragile, and it all seems so meaningless. Though, I’d like to think I’m not afraid of death, perhaps I am. Perhaps the root cause of all of my depression and self injury of the past is I fear my mortality. Maybe that’s why I spend hours reading fantasy,scifi and the likes. Perhaps, I’m afraid to live when I know I’m going to die. I read and watch all these spiritual things, but what’s the point. I want to be happy in this life, yet to be honest I’m more concerned about what happens next…
These are the thoughts, feelings and images that has been stuck in my head every since the night I spent in the ER. It changed me. As I feel my depression rolling away yet again and I seek the warmth of the sun, I can’t help but be reminded that this too, shall pass.