Each episode of sorrow offers a pathway back to love. Every time I find my world darkened by fear, my heart gripped by grief, there I find solace in the storm because I’m pointed again in the direction of love.
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots so new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” – Rumi
There’s something inside of me that’s powerful enough to transform grief into gratitude. There’s something so profound in the pain because, though it’s quite uncomfortable, it pushes me into the realization that love is stronger.
Back to Love was not inspired by the Rumi verse you see above, but once I found this quote in the wake of this poem, it spoke so clearly of the same thing: love grows sometimes in the wake of sorrow, if we offer up the space for it.
This poem came to me because of my sorrow. There I find the resolve to keep going long after I thought I couldn’t, and it’s only because I go back to love. We don’t need the pain to reach love, it’s just that love can be reached from nearly anywhere, even from a dark hole of sorrow. There’s something beautiful about that.
I love how Pema Chödrön puts it: “Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.”
If you need to run anywhere, run back to love. The light in the heart will stay on, it’s just that sometimes we need to get some of the darkness out of us so that it has the room it needs to burn brighter.
Back to Love
With all my lows
And my heart’s sorrows,
There will be a time to rise.
Though it could color
The night sky,
Will eventually lift my eyes.
In all its grace,
Will teach me it is so
That what I hold so tightly to,
Perhaps I should let go.
And that which seems so far away
Is only a truth I’ve forgotten to see.
No matter how close sorrow moves,
Love would not leave me.
I feel small and separated,
So I’ll let my tears run through me.
And how it is so,
I do not yet know,
But love comes rushing in.
Or maybe my tears left me
Love needed more space to grow.
And that separation I feel:
It is just a shadow.
So when my sorrow closes in
And there’s nowhere to go,
I’ll let is close in
And swallow itself whole,
And I’ll go back home
To the love I’ve only forgotten I know.
I’ll let it slowly paint the stars again
Into my night sky,
And the fear of darkness
Will shimmer and shine.
And I’ll learn to smile again
Every time I cry.
- What reminds you to return to love when you feel sorrow in your heart?
- What has love taught you about yourself?
- How have you turned grief into gratitude, pain into power, tears into triumph?
Get creative about what love means to you, and please share any thoughts with me in the comments.
Share this poem with someone who may appreciate its message.
Always go back to love. The light is still there.