“…Take care of him, stay with him forever and tell him that you love him every day. He has been a very special friend to me – a best friend. He used to make every day a little nicer. He’s a beautiful, warm person. I know him well and know he loves you more than anything in his whole life. And because he loves you – he’ll never let you down…”
Within that copy of Kahlil Gibran’s book the inscription is written in the following passages are found:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love…. let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
When young, the fire of living burns brightly as one first experience after another of being an adult unfolds. It is so easy to take for granted what much later becomes a prized and cherished memory. In my remembrance there is much gratitude for knowing the woman who wrote the inscription in the book, for the words of the author and especially for the woman who married me and who I spent 20-something years of my life with. While we went our separate ways now over a dozen years ago, I will always be thankful for the good years we shared together and the son that came from our union. The predictions of the well-wisher did not come true as she wrote them. People do disappoint each other, love does not always grow and sometimes growth means growing apart. Such happenings do not have to paint what unfolded as “bad”. Rather I prefer to think of such occurrences as “good” that just turned out different than expected.
With sufficient time, all things change and the evolution of each of us as a person is only partially within our control. However, my ability to value all my experiences is within my control. That gratitude allows me to see that nothing lasts forever and teaches me to treasure experiences even more for the fleeting gifts they are. Each piece of my past is responsible for molding me as I am today. Just because the prophecy of “till death do us part” becomes untrue does not diminish in any way the value of what “was” for a time.
The years teach much which the days never knew. Ralph Waldo Emerson