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The human experience

“He who has not looked on sorrow will never see joy.” Kahlil Gibran


During the last two weeks, friends of mine have experienced a variety of life changing events –  the birth of a first grandchild, the wedding of a son, serious illness of a mother and death of a father.  The juxtaposition of these events got me thinking about the joys and sorrows that define our human experience.

We are blessed to feel the elation of a new baby joining our family as well as the joy of two people beginning a life together  These events fill our lives with excitement and meaning. At these times, we often look more closely at new possibilities in our own lives and our commitments to ourselves and those we love.  Our family story continues in the life of a new baby and in the lives of a new bride and groom. The world seems “right” and we are happy.

Illness is difficult because we don’t want to see those we love in pain. It is however, an opportunity for us to develop compassion and to demonstrate our love by caring for our loved one’s needs. This can be challenging, but can also add depth to our soul. Of course the death of a loved one, especially a father is difficult to bear. When we lose a parent, we lose a piece of our story. This loss forces us to redefine ourselves and our place in the world.

Each of these experiences brings with it a gift to be treasured. It is easy to see in the case of a baby or wedding, but in the illness or death of a loved one – not so much. We have to dig a little deeper to find it. The gift is hidden in the pain and sadness, just where it hurts the most. That gift is a more compassionate and loving heart. Without it, we could not truly appreciate the joy and beauty in our lives. Without it we could not have a real human experience.  


Tom Ross

So stunningly and importantly true, Chris.

Each emotion and feeling demands its counterpart for meaning. Without sorrow, no joy. Without weakness, no strength. And on.

A post that is both thoughtful and beautifully and simply written.


Christine Mabon

Thank you for making the time to post a comment and for your kind words. So often we deny the profound importance of sorrow in our lives. We don’t want to learn any lessons, we just want the pain to go away. Painful though it may be, to live fully we must, as Pemo Chodron advises, “lean into it” and discover the hidden gift.


Chris, This was so beautiful in every way and so true. You write with such incredible depth and skill! Thanks for sharing and helping me to consider what is most important! Cindy

Christine Mabon

Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad you enjoyed the post.