The Guest House

Guest House

Sometimes life is hard. No, oftentimes it’s hard. It’s rarely fair. Sometimes painful. My 9-year-old son said to me last night, “Sometimes I can feel my heart weep.” That simultaneously broke my heart, and made my heart sing. It made me sad that he feels sorrows; but at the same time I was so joyous that he has both the capacity to feel deeply AND has the words for it. 

Life is like this. Amidst all our pain and suffering, throughout all our struggles and losses, is a thread of joy that weaves in and out of our lives. It binds it all together. Without pain there is no joy. You can’t separate the two in life. Life is hard, and it is beautiful.

So today, in breathing through some internal anxieties and struggles as my heart weeps, I offer this poem as I sit gratefully in the Guest House:

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Mewlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Danish poet

As translated by Coleman Barks

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