Some poetry speaks to my soul, but none greater than Kahlil Gibran's On Joy and Sorrow. I have referenced this poem innumerable times in my life - whilst grieving death, divorce, and unbearable pain but also in celebrating birth, rebirth, transformation, and utter exuberance. I think this poem exemplifies the human condition in its beautifully broken dichotomy.
I love this idea that the height of our most joyous moment is directly proportionate to the depth of our greatest sorrow. They are two sides of the same coin, inexplicably and inextricably tied to one another. In the words of Brene Brown, "our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted."
The reason we feel good is because we feel bad. This means that all the pain I feel and all the pain you are feeling - it's worth it.
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 holds 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 thar 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.