I was in the midst of rickshaws and pollution,

Horns blowing and people shouting,

The consistent chatter of street vendors,

It was loud, but I was at peace.

Today, at times, I walk through city streets,

Through quiet neighborhoods of Philadelphia,

I listen to the leaves rustling in the wind,

There is, at times, where the silence is so loud,

That I can’t think of anything else,

But be consumed by its humming.

One particular day, I saw just the same as I did in the midst of chaos in India,

I saw the eyes of a woman,

Her silence screamed at me,

Asking for help, help I knew I couldn’t offer.

What is the difference, I thought, between here and there?

Poverty is neither here or there,

It is nowhere, yet everywhere.

Some see suffering as a massive failure,

A failure that has lasted so unfathomably long,

That a child somewhere will see,

And dedicate life to humanity.

At times I wonder,

What is life without sorrow?

For it is from suffering that we are spoken to,

From a place a deep within.

Just as Gibran teaches us,

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 

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 hold 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 than 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”

Rina PatelComment