Last week began with a dear friend's wedding. Family and friends were gathered to share in the joy and love encircled the room. Then over the next few days I was witness to three pieces of very sad news. Finally, at the end of the week, I farewelled my brother as he plans to set off on a new life adventure.
As I responded to these events, and made attempts to support those most affected, it occurred to me that the celebration of love and the acknowledgement of loss are closely intertwined. In both these circumstances there are expressions of tenderness, resilience, vulnerability and of course, love. We who are close, are welcomed into the intimacy of our friends and family members' most emotional moments.
And the emotions expressed at the range of occasions are interchangeable. It's not uncommon to see tears shed during wedding festivities and moments of roll on the floor laughter during times of grief.
Somehow I am reminded of an old folk story. As I remember it, a man goes to a wise religious leader and speaks of his problems and sorrow. The wise man listens quietly and then says "this shall pass". The troubled man is a bit confused but goes away to consider this message. He returns some time later with a new problem and is given the same response - "This shall pass". The man returns a third time, blissfully happy, and wishing to thank the wise man for his counsel. "This too shall pass" is the consistent reply.
We never know quite when we will fall in love, or lose a loved one or experience deep joy or sadness. I guess what I take away from this week is that it is the relationships we have with the people in our lives - friends and family - that are most important. They give life its meaning and enable us to cope with adversity. I hope I can live as much in the moment as is possible, knowing that each moment, whether one of joy or grief, is precious.