I spent this morning with a good friend who’s just lost his sister in an accident. We shared stories of grief, of numbness, of sarcastic come-backs to our friends’ awkward sympathy.
I came home hurting for him, for myself (because I miss my own dear dead friend) for this broken world. I am reading Kerouac (“I love you but you have no idea what you’re talking about”) and a collection of meditations by Henri J.M. Nouwen called The Dance of Life. I found these gems today;
“Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our life. It seems that there is no such thing as clear-cut pure joy but that, even in the most happy moments of our existence, we sense a twinge of sadness. In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of its limitations. In every success, there is a fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is knowledge of surrounding darkness.
Joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid leaves of a New England fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun-covered ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can’t find words to capture your complex emotions.”
But its also fun, isn’t it? Being alive I mean. used to take things very seriously and I was quite depressed. (I was also in high school and weren’t we all pretty moody back then? Ooh the angst of being sixteen!) Now I think everything’s funny, in a bitter, calloused sort of way.
“I cried for all of us. There was no end to the American sadness and the American madness. Someday we’ll all start laughing and roll on the ground when we realize how funny its been.”
-Kerouac, On the Road.
And finally, this tongue-in-cheek gem via Douglas Adams, in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series;
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
Because none of us had any say in our being born, and being born human nonetheless.
I dunno, just pondering today. Just introspective about how pitiful and hilarious being alive is. Tragic comedy or comedic tragedy? Love and hate it.