Sunday, March 12, 2017

#SOL17: What Gets Carried. What Gets Lifted.

from my art journal


Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. Kahlil Gibran

I.

What do you carry in your heart?  What truths does your heart know?

I think about this now and again when I meet strangers in the food store, the library, at the movie theater and sense some sorrow. I know that grief sometimes leaves me weepy in the most public of spaces and have thought afterwards what others might think. This last year has made me wonder more about the weight of the sorrow and the benefit of joy others carry.

To be a widow is to know both.

II.

It is connections with others that lighten my own sorrow and spark joy. A person who simply smiles or acknowledges me with a head nod, or someone who takes time to say a pleasant comment. Earlier in the week I was in line at an airport and the guy in front of me started a discussion about the book I had in hand. Sometimes it is as simple as the person who commented about the weather as I was leaving a coffee shop.

Connections lift us.

III.

Today, I am wondering how I might best help lighten the weight of sorrow that others carry--if only for the moment. How might I bring joy?

Ideas?


34 comments:

  1. Your words, even if some of them are seeped in sadness, bring joy and connection because they remind us that we all feel deeply and that we are not alone. I think we bring joy when we give others stories - through our words, through conversations, through literally reading aloud to someone.

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    1. I agree Carrie. Sharing stories through words and conversations, through images and paint all matter.

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  2. Writing how you feel is a great way to bring happiness. I love the artwork that went with this post as well. There are so many mediums that draw people together and you are using two in such a powerful way!

    (hannanabanana from hannahshappenings.net)

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  3. It really is all about connections. As someone who has been single her whole life, there are days, especially on weekends, when the only person I talk to is a grocery store clerk. I try really hard to look at people and acknowledge them, because you never know what people might need or be going through.

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    1. I wondered if single vs married creates different opportunities to notice.

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  4. I love how you move from wondering about yourself to wondering about others, and how to bring joy.
    Kevin

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    1. Looking for ways to ease pain, spread joy.

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  5. "Connections lift us." Yes. Grief is not constant nor predictable. Being aware of your own journey helps you to identify with others traveling their own paths - be them similar or different from yours.

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    1. It isn't constant or predictable. Exactly.

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  6. What a powerful truth: that our grief can lead us to connect so much deeper with others and thus spread joy. I marvel at your insight. Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. When I counseled parents about a troubled child, I often suggested that they find a way for that child to volunteer somewhere, helping at a pre-school center or volunteering at a food bank. When we look outward to help others, I'm convinced it helps us, too. Your post emphasizes the person who notices, maybe a writer, or perhaps just someone who appreciates people. I love hearing about that man talking about your book at the airport, Mary Ann. He took the time for a connection. I try to make eye contact and smile at everyone I meet, and there are those who look startled, but then smile, and others glide away not wanting me to invade? You've written wise words that touch on our community here. When I comment, it's a little connection that I value. And hearing from others makes me smile, too. Thanks!

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    1. Yes the connections via these comments fells good.

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  8. It's the small things, like making eye contact or asking about the book tucked under the arm, that makes the difference, I feel. I like Linda's suggestion of volunteering, too. Going outside of oneself.

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    1. All of these are good ideas. The process can be filled with small everyday acts. Thanks.

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  9. This pairing of art and words touch my heart, for I too am a widow. I am new at this. And there is a strange mix of joy and sorrow that is buried deep. The grief swells, often unannounced. I just go with it. What can I do? Thank you so so much. I feel a connection.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss and the newness of it. I know how impossibly hard and shocky it all is. And yes, grief does not announce itself--just shows up. Going with it is what I have done too. Work through it.

      I feel a connection too. Welcome, dear friend.

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  10. I am convinced that everyone who meets you or reads your words has their sorrows lifted. So happy I discovered you.

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  11. Thank you for reminding me that we do have the power to connect and uplift even those whom we only briefly encounter. Let us spread a plague of positivity.

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  12. I agree... to give joy to others is to lift our own burdens. I think too, that others who have reached out to me, moved me out of myself. What a treasure!!!
    Bonnie

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  13. It seems to me that you are lifting the burdens of others simply by living and sharing your gifts, your art, your stories, your empathy, your observations. Some people simply make the world a better place by being in it. You are one of those people.

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  14. Sounds like you could be the person to reach out, to smile, to ask. Some times those who need help the most are those best able to hide it.

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    1. Yes, I agree Katie. As a widow, I think we all hide it at times.

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  15. Your writing is an inspiration, Mary Ann. Your words cause me to stop, to ponder living. For that, I thank you. "Ideas?" Keep writing. :)

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  16. I want to share this one with my widowed momma. She would so connect with the way your grief makes you see the joy and the connections in this life.

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    1. Please do. I have been blogging prior to and after my husband;s death abut this loss. Hope it helps, in some small way, to soothe your momma.

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  17. Yes. I just think we are here to connect. We have to be right?!?! I'm that guy (but a girl...) who will turn around and ask you about your book. And I've learned to step back and respect the quiet if that is what is returned. Maybe it's not the time to connect for that other person. But we don't know if we don't try. This is simply wonderful.

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    1. I think what you say Kendra is wise. Make the advance but be mindful of the response/reaction.

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