23 May 2017
Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon. ~Mizuta Masahide, 17th c. Japanese poet and samurai
And occasionally, there is this kind of beginning again. After a break that is not repairable. After the damage is done. When the loss is disabling, the sorrow disconsolate.
Barn burnt down. The night long and cold without shelter. The future bleakened by the loss of feed and livestock.
No life escapes losses of this sort. We will grieve. Life will bring us to our knees.
Some traditions have ways of helping us cope with difficult life experiences, rituals that honor the difficulty of being human and the raw uncertainty of life. But ultimately perhaps, we must cope ourselves; sink into the pain, grope through the dark, lean into those who love us while we find strength, or cultivate it, within.
It takes courage to recover and strength to lift the heavy beams into place for a new barn. It takes determination to accept sorrow and build it into the structure of a good life.
In return, that shelter we create can come to foster our ability to go forward, to go ahead and care whole-heartedly again.
At some point, the resilience of life exerts itself again. At some point, the wildflowers that spring from the blackened ground are more lovely and lush than ever. At some point, that which is not mendable becomes a softness in our hearts.
At some point, the full moon comes into view in a new way, reminding us that life is big, impossible to contain within any single event.