Thursday, October 15, 2015

Life amid death

Thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi once said, "Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form."

I don't take that to mean that we shouldn't face our grief and walk through it. When a loved one dies, when we lose ability because of chronic illness, when tragedy strikes, it's important to be real about what's happened and how we feel about it. It's important to grieve. I believe that's necessary before we can let go and move on (and by that I don't mean forgetting what we've lost).

What I take from Rumi's quote is that death is part of life, joy and sadness are often wound together, and life's "fertilizer" is capable of producing beautiful blooms. Death and loss don't have to have the last word. Transformation and new life are possible.

Even now in fall, when most of us focus on things that are dying, seeds are falling to the earth and in spring, they'll bring forth new life.

When I lost my job in 2009, I didn't imagine that it would lead me to another satisfying career—one that really fits where I am now in life. Many people who have suffered through cancer and treatments have said that it deepened and enriched their lives—and that they actually are grateful for all of it. I wouldn't presume to say this is true for every loss and for every person. You are the only one who can make such judgments about your life experience. But I will say that this quote is worthy of deep reflection.

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