Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Night Melodies for My Mind

My favorite passage from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Every so often, this passage floats into my mind and I have to go read it again. It reminds me of an important concept, that the lives of my children are theirs to live. In fact, the only life I can live is my own. I gladly share my life with others, and they share theirs with me, but still, I can only really live mine. Tonight, I've been in search of thoughts about teaching, searching for something profound to share with my students. I turned to The Prophet to see what was there, and although the passage was good, I was once again drawn to the thoughts about children. My mind turned away from teaching, back to the core of my adult life, to family and parenting and children. And that lead me to my other favorite passage, another that I read and reread faithfully:

Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"

And he answered saying: You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Beautiful words to ponder, to live by. Words that reach deep inside me, that resonate within me. Words I will read again and again.


lizzie lee said...

Beautiful, Michelle. Sharing but not possessing, loving w/o demands, as love is freely given.

Darrell said...

The passage about children sure strikes a chord. We want the best for them, but they ultimately have to find their own way. It is difficult to watch them make mistakes that will effect their lives for time untold. While it is also rewarding to see them get back up again and move on.

Our friends tell us we did a good job with son #1 but that only makes we wonder where we went wrong with son #2. I feel that we can't take credit for the first without also taking responsibility for the second. Heartbreaking stuff, for sure.