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Sorrow is how we learn to love.

—Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun

 

 

If sorrow is how we learn to love,

then let us learn.

Already enough sorrow’s been sown

for whole continents to erupt

into astonishing tenderness.

Let us learn. Let compassion grow rampant,

like sunflowers along the highway.

Let each act of kindness replant itself

into acres and acres of widespread devotion.

Let us choose love as if our lives depend on it.

The sorrow is great. Let us learn to love greater—

riotous love, expansive love,

love so rooted, so common

we almost forget

the world could look any other way.

 

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Meditation

 

 

 

 

And when sorrow arrives for tea

and stains the table cloth

with its great mass of gray,

and when sorrow arrives

and drives everyone else away,

do not leave, alarmed though you are

by its slumping weight.

Offer your attentiveness.

See how it almost radiates?

There are myths in which monsters

transform into princes.

It always takes courage. And kisses.

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I used to loathe them,
the dandelions, the cheat grass,
the tamarisk, the whatever
wasn’t what I had planted.
I’d declare war in the field
and spend hours hunched over
removing the dark green rosettes
and ripping up handfuls of grass.
And likewise, I despised
sorrow, wanted to yank it
like a tap-rooted weed.
Wanted a garden without it.
It is not that I would encourage
sorrow now. Would not sow it,
nor plant a whole bed of it.
But nor would I yank it out.
It is not against me.
Perhaps the garden got bigger,
so much bigger that there
was more room for everything,
though I was not the one
who made it increase.
Perhaps it is that I can see
how much richer the soil is
with sorrow tilled in, too,
how now everything blooms
more beautifully, even all
those golds and purples
I would never have dreamed
of planting myself.

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