Tuesday, October 11, 2011


POEM #11- Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

E.W. Wilcox was simply observing human nature when she wrote this poem. There is something in all of us that shrinks back from pain and runs toward pleasure. But there is nothing natural about the Spirit-led life. The life that is to "bear one another's burdens" and to place God and others above ourselves. Since my first time through the deep valley of grief when we lost our dear, dear friend Greg Makcen, I have found myself saying when other people have lost someone, "I don't want to be near them. I don't want to go into that valley again with anyone. It's ugly and painful and so, so dark!" Although I shrank back in ignorance and cowardice on occasions, God is teaching me how to "cry with others" and using Nathan to teach me the balance of emotional management- so that the pain allocated to other's lives doesn't overwhelm me and keep me from doing God's will in and for my own family. Anyone else out there struggle with this balance?

The great news is that the Christian never "weeps alone." Christ is always there; may the body be there, too.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.


Liz said...

Yes, I struggle with that balance! I'm trying to find ways (other than food) to deal with it... I'd love to hear your ideas ;)

Charity said...

One thing a friend who miscarried told me: "I just wanted a hug. Someone who wouldn't avoid me because they didn't know what to say." Another friend who lost her 9 year old said, "People are so done with me having bad days- they really don't want to know how I'm doing- they just want to hear how God's blessing me, etc." Because of these friends, I've learned to jump in a little more, love a little more, and realize if I say the wrong thing, I won't be the first. I also run ALL my involvement with deeply hurting people by Nathan. He does a great job of gauging my emotional capabilities and giving me tips when it's time to stop talking on the phone about some sadness. I may call it processing, but he can tell when it's cyclical rehashing.

Connie and Steve said...

My struggle is that as a young person my parents teased me about having a one-track mind--which was a nice way to say I was a nagger. I have tried to correct that, and probably have over-corrected because I don't want to be perceived as pushy in any way. I know that in my personal times of grieving the only people that were annoying were those that offered unsolicited advice that I thought was irrelevant. But there were not very many of those.

I do have a lot of comfort to give, but sometimes I sense that the person is less than receptive to what I have to offer. That is silly, probably, but it sends me a signal to back off. I am battling that right now.

In matters like this, though, you have to follow your heart. Nathan's filters are probably a good thing, too. :)