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keeping my heart like the rose

I tried to stay awake to hear the rain, but sometimes we can't help sleeping.

One of the things you learn when you live far from a beloved homeland is that gratitude must not outweigh grief. I am surrounded in my neighbourhood by all the things I need for my convenience, but none that I need for my spirit's comfort - trees, meadows, flowers, rain, peaceful roads, hills. I've tried being assiduously grateful for all I have here, and sorrow has festered unrelieved, ultimately causing pain and illness.

Neither though must grief outweigh gratitude. I've soaked in my homesickness and that led only to despair. It made me forget my honour and hospitality, so that I became a lesser person.

I don't know that our hearts are meant to be fully open all the time. Perhaps it is wiser to be like the rose, and draw ourselves inward sometimes, quiet in our own shadows. And then open to the sun at other times. If we count our blessings, we should count our sorrows too. We should allow ourselves our truth, our full human experience, and treat ourselves with dignity and love. People talk a lot about happiness being the purpose of life, but I can not myself believe that. We have not been given a garden that needs no work. That work is surely at least part of life's purpose. The dirt as well as the flowers. The digging as well as the rest.

image source : Kelsey King at Fairytale Weeds


  1. I agree. I prefer to pursue contentedness rather than happiness, for it is possible to be content even in difficult times. Happiness is a rather more elusive feeling, coming and going—as it should. It may sound strange to some, but I'd hate to be happy all the time. Melancholy, grief, sorrow, bring more depth to life. I think it is possible to be grateful for all those feelings.

  2. ahhhhhh, i'd agree---happiness is not the purpose of life, just one of the things we feel along the way. as is sadness, or any other emotion. the purpose of life may be a matter for debate amongst learned philosophers, but it surely isn't locking oneself into a static feeling state and denying all the rest of the "rich tapestry"... i like the idea of a balance between gratitude and grieving. there is sometimes a facile quality to discussions about happiness; an idea that if something is difficult, if it causes you pain, it must be excised from your life. all that new age stuff about keeping you vibration high/positive, "letting go of what no longer serves you (i.e., doesn't make you happy), etc. i'm not saying they are wrong about everything, just that there is a sort of communal emphasis on the idea that if a thing is right for you it is easy, and a wooly-headed insistence on happiness as the sole sign of spiritual progress and life's point... if we close our eyes to grief, we miss not only one of the many ways of feeling deeply, but also lose connection to important messages between our souls and the world...


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