“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” Khalil Gibran
It is late Christmas day. It has been a good day, a quiet day, and in the stillness of the afternoon, l have spent much time pondering sadness. While sadness may seem like an unfit topic for this day of celebration, it is, nevertheless, a feeling that abounds during the season. Often juxtaposed against the expected emotions provoked by “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays,” sadness can be buried amidst the stack of holiday cheer.
Today is a day to be celebrated and for which to be thankful. So, what is this “wall between two gardens” of which Gibran speaks? For some reason, I am reminded of another quote (by Mother Teresa, I think) where she speaks of having her heart break wide open so that the whole world may fall in. I sense this breaking of heart in myself while at the same time there is a sense of peace and thankfulness. Must we break wide open to find peace?
How can the two co-exist? Is this the paradox of love? Of God? The garden of heartbreak and the garden of thankfulness. The wall of sadness between humanity and divinity. The human part of me wants to focus on the sadness and where I don’t feel like my desires are being met, but the holy will not let me rest there. The divine requires me to remember that ALL my needs are fulfilled and I am never alone even when I may feel lonely. God is with me and I hear the words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So why the sadness? Why the wall between the gardens? Images are evoked of the joy of the birth of a new babe and the sadness of his death on a cross—before his resurrection. Ahh—maybe that is the wall of sadness; the sting of death before resurrection.
It seems that this is the place we live today—having not yet experienced our own resurrection to glory, but having tasted it; known the glory in brief moments—the birth of a child, the smile of a stranger, the gift of a song. These reminders start to fracture the wall of sadness and meld the gardens—the garden of birth and the garden of resurrection. This Christmas day, hope is tangible. It is a time to celebrate and experience the glory of God. And, it is a time to sit with the sadness between the two gardens and be thankful. Merry Christmas and Amen.
photo by bill hughlett